*I generally do not buy into fear mongering. When I hear how much American society has gone downhill my first reaction is to think “in comparison to when?”
I believe that for almost everyone in American society (white, heterosexual, Protestant men are the exception) our country has been improving itself over time. However, that doesn’t mean that we are perfect or hat there aren’t aspects of the United States that rub me the wrong way. Over the next two weeks I’ll present four items that I think are stopping us from stretching beyond our current capabilities.
Political – Every vote I have ever cast in my life has been for a liberal candidate. In most instances though, these weren’t knee-jerk-I-always-vote-Democrat decisions. I usually do at least a little research to see what the candidates’ stances are big and pertinent issues are. And each time I conclude that I agree more with the liberal than the conservative.
In fact I have written in this space on numerous occasions about what I feel are the flaws in conservative logic. But if you think about it a minute, politicians are only partly to blame. To some extent they are promoting views that they believe will get them elected even if they personally disagree. The fact that these folks feel that their constituencies really want privatized police forces or a wall built along our Southern border is disturbing. It points to the fact that these politicians are either engaging in rabble rousing or they are echoing the sentiments of their base. Either way the country is seeing itself split into two camps more and more.
And while right now liberals are winning because conservatives seem to insult and ignore large chunks of the population, the long term effect is a decrease in good political debate. By intentionally splitting the county into two groups conservatives ignore the fact that everyone should be working together to help the country thrive. And by aligning themselves with the smaller group conservatives have made it possible for liberals to get lazy because they don’t have to work as hard to win.
History tells us that it’s unlikely for Democrats to continue winning the Presidency forever so something will change. I just can imagine what.
Economics – One of the basic things I think conservatives have wrong is their insistence that privatization is a cure-all to most (if not all) of the country’s issues. It doesn’t take a genius to understand that such a system would most serve to highlight inequalities and ultimately hinder society. If all schools, sanitation, and fire houses were privatized then only those who could afford these services would get them. These services, to name a few, are so essential that they should be subsidized by government.
I have all the faith in the world that private companies will do what they do best and earn the highest possible profit. But because of that faith I do not want to put businessmen in the position of choosing between extra revenue and civic interest. Civic interest should and would lose in such a showdown.
Consider the industrial centers that dot the Midwest of the country. Companies that used to base their production in places like Cleveland and St. Louis moved their operations to other states, Mexico, and Asia as soon as it became more profitable. And I don’t blame them. But that’s exactly why these guys should not be in control of anything that’s important for any municipality, state, or country as a whole.
Also keep in mind that I am not suggesting that the bureaucracy is perfect. But at least their mission statement is to serve the public instead of retiring rich.
Next week: social and cultural issues.
Trevor Brookins is a free lance writer in Rockland County, New York. He is currently working on a book about American culture during the Cold War. His writing has appeared in The Journal News. You can reach him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @historictrev.