…mostly we are dealing firmly held opinions masquerading as fact.–Mary Beard
What are our American values? I suggest these:
- Honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay
- Fair elections
- Free quality education for all children
- A dignified retirement for seniors
- Compassion for the needy, the sick, the disabled.
- Equal protection of the laws without regard for race, gender, ethnicity, native language or sexual orientation.
- Liberty and Justice for all.
Government has an important role–a government too small, weak, or splintered to promote our values must fail to serve the public interest. When politicians promote small government, reduced spending, tax cuts for the rich, or a narrow interpretation of the Constitution, values which conflict with the American values listed above, they reflect alien values which Americans will in the long term reject. When some attempt to shortchange the sick, the disabled, the young, or the old, Americans will sooner or later object. When those with alien views shortchange education, despise those left out of American prosperity, or reward giant corporations with tax loopholes or rich individuals with unneeded tax cuts, they undermine the covenant for fair play which is the basis of our Constitutional government.
Could we be weened from our values? Hopefully not. But there is a danger that we might not be vigilant enough to protect them. Will we once again have an effective voting rights act, an effective campaign reform law, quality education for all children, meaningful action to end poverty in America? One must hope we will.
© William Hungerford – February 2015