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Left v. Right Pt 9

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October Sky, Good Harbor Beach MA
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It may provide some comfort to those bonding over their political and culture beliefs to ignore unpleasant truths and focus instead on the merits of abstract political traditions and ideals, along with tabulating today's scorecard. But that comfort has limitations, and the consequences of legislative pursuits benefiting the few at the continuing expense of the many will be unpleasant at best if too many of us continue to rely on convenient rationalizations rather than working together.

What kind of a nation do we choose to be? At what point do we come to the realization that what our passive acquiescence to both the policies enacted and to the others opposed is a major contributing factor to this crucial barrier we've created and reinforced? Silence in response to the nonsense and the viciousness of commentary and policy proposals is acquiescence.

If we don't speak up, if we don't take a few moments to consider on our own what's being said as contrasted with what's being done and the outcomes resulting, the few will continue to be served at our collective expense.

Should being part of a nurturing and cooperative community that extends benefits to many really be open to debate? When do these advocating a conservative approach, which suggests the common good ought not be quite so common--if that requires a bit of sacrifice to help those less fortunate--recognize that creating conflict and additional inequities will lead to more conflict? What kind of off button do they rely upon in thinking that their pursuit of advantages and rewards at the expense of others will not in time be met with objections and opposition?

Compassionate choices, and legislation motivated accordingly, at the very least hold out the hope of benefiting many rather than a few. One should safely assume that benefits and advantages available to more of us promotes more of that same, and thus less conflict and intolerance. Should that approach really still be a source of contention in 2016?

Take away the compassion and concern for the well-being of others, and cold-hearted legislation is reduced to a bottom-line consideration. Period. It's not that difficult to understand how that has worked out. The callous, ugly campaign of Donald Trump isn't exactly spreading good cheer.

Policies that exclude only lead those denied opportunities and benefits to seek more for themselves, and with almost no consideration for others. "Every man for himself" is not such an appealing guideline when actually employed. Because of the fears those denials engender, and the related belief the disadvantaged have no choice but to do whatever they must do, what other outcome can anyone expect but even more conflict? It's not that complicated!

While there are always exceptions to every rule, the harsh truth is that for a substantial portion of underprivileged, low-income citizens, starting out at the bottom keeps them there. That reality has absolutely nothing to do with cavalier and dismissive conclusions about getting what one deserves. Denying assistance by those who should assist but do not is heartless. Flimsy ideological rationales or justifications are just that.

Protecting individual liberty is indeed an indispensable role of government. But it is not the only role.

If we are to truly maximize all the resources of this nation--which, by the way, we on the left do in fact happen to love just as deeply as do the red-blooded patriots on the right [in no small part because we more readily recognize the great capacity we have to accommodate progress]--changes have to be made in the basic structure of our economic and political systems.

Are we up to the task? Of course! Will we do what needs to be done? That answer is up to us. Time will tell.

Adapted from a blog post of mine

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Looking Left and Right: Inspiring Different Ideas, Envisioning Better Tomorrows I remain a firm believer in late U.S. Senator Paul Wellstone's observation that "We all do better when we all do better." That objective might be worth pursuing (more...)

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