Saturday, July 26, 2014

There is a Difference

As former Speaker of the House Tip O’Neil said, “All politics is local.” This speaks to the human condition that puts self-interest first.  When given a choice it is reasonable to assume that unless there is some obvious gain to the individual they will oppose change if they perceive a personal cost.  This is where we are now, where our leaders no longer lead with a strong vision, but endlessly campaign based on selling to the selfish nature of man.  There is a difference between political self-interest and leadership.
On the one hand, we have a party that has moved far to the left, promising all the riches of the land to those who keep them in power.  To accomplish this they encourage those political activities that divide the nation, and create class warfare, denying any role in the creation of laws that set the foundation for that division.
I am reminded of the words of our founding fathers -- as written in the Declaration of Independence.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Those on the left have twisted this idea to imply all men must be equal in all things.  Those with the courage to make these declarations did not say, nor did they imply, that all men must be equal in all things.  They did challenge the argument on the divine right of kings, but they realized that being created equal did not guarantee that equality through life.  These men represented their states, but were among the educated elite and upper social structure.  They were the 1% of the day.
As a youth, I was taught that America was a land of opportunity and you could rise to any station in life based on your talent, initiative, skill and desire.  We start as equals but have the opportunity to become more.  Now the left would have us believe that those precepts are wrong and it is the government that has made it possible for the few to rise from humble beginnings to great fame, influence, or wealth.  They rally around the cry from the junior Senator from Massachusetts “I hear all this, you know, ‘Well, this is class warfare, this is whatever,’” she said. “No. There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody.”[1]
Those rich people deserve to be taxed at a much higher rate because they are successful so that those who are not can be subsidized.  In the past it was an individual’s sense of obligation that drove the successful to share that wealth, not the strong hand of the government.  I believe the junior Senator’s approach is at best insincere and most likely self-serving.  If she was indeed interested in equity she would look at all inequity, not just that that plays well with the poor.
For example, let us take the junior Senator’s former employer.  As a Harvard professor, she worked for a corporation that has millions in its endowment fund, has among the highest tuitions in the nation and continues to operate at a profit, paying its tenured professors 6-figure salaries, and yet pays no taxes…  Why aren’t we pushing to make all colleges pay their fair share of taxes?  Has being classified as a non-profit organization truly opened up the possibility of education for all, or has it led to massive income for those organizations based on the government pushing sky-high student debt as a means to an end?  I believe it because the voices rising up so loud about income equality come from those institutions and are acting in their own selfish interest.
On the other side of the political coin are those pulling far to the right, where there should be no new taxes, or better yet corporate tax should be lowered so those businesses become richer.  They propose we pay no welfare, abandon the modernization of our infrastructure, and return us to a time when we did not care for those who struggle in a time of need. Trusting in the sense of morality of the rich to share their wealth but is this legitimate.  As I look around I think of the politicians pursuing this philosophy, like those in opposition, who are looking for the rich to serve their self-interest with the purchase of political support they can afford.
What I see in government today is the dominance of political self-interest, and not leadership in the sense I was taught.  No one, in a position to influence the future of the nation, seems to be willing to move to a rational position and bear the criticism of those that oppose what is good for the nation.  Campaigning has become the full time profession of everyone from the President down to the lowest city councilman.  Leadership, if it exists, is an unintended consequence of picking the right campaign slogan and nothing more.


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