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DATE: 4 July 2010


TO: My Political E-Mail List


SUBJECT: American Independence c/o “Common” Americans

On this, America’s 234th birthday, let us celebrate not only our great leaders — who led us so gallantly, boldly, and wisely in affairs of war and peace, poverty and prosperity, and injustice and civil rights — but also our great masses of “common” Americans — who did most of the fighting and dying, working and taxpaying, and sacrificing and striving that made our nation great.


Presently, there is a great debate in the United States and beyond: In this, the greatest recession since the Great Depression, should the government spend more money on putting more people to work — or saving more jobs, as by the federal government helping our increasingly desperate state governments — or helping unemployed workers pay their bills till the job market turns around? Or should the government of this and many other nations focus more on paying down our historic debts, by cutting spending and/or increasing taxes, to stabilize our economies and thus, presumably, turn them around?


Do we so soon forget where most of that debt came from, where most of our money went? In the United States, much has been spent bailing out institutions “too large to fail” as well as propping up the rest of our economy, although apparently not enough — thanks in large part to fiscal “conservatives,” in both parties, who slashed last year’s stimulus bill in half.


But even more than that, our treasury has amassed massive debts due to tax cuts that went mostly to the wealthy, under the administration of the previous president, and that were unfunded, as were the wars that were then started, with or without just cause, and that rage on, although now with ends apparently in sight.


In short, as many “deficit hawks” propose, should the Social Security, education, public safety, and other programs benefitting the working people and middle class of America be dramatically cut? Should the wealth of the country — the product of the work of the workers of the country — be in (unstated) effect permanently shifted from the bottom to the top, exacerbating the already historic inequality of wealth?


Although such authorities as Nobel Prize–winning economist Paul Krugman do a better job of explaining the whys and wherefores, the bottom line is this: If the working families in America and beyond do not prosper, how can the nations we build and maintain and defend and support do anything but wither?


Never forget, America is ultimately no greater than the sum total of the hopes, dreams, aspirations, and everyday lives of all our “everyday” people.


From 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. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”


... and the Constitution ...


“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”


... to the Four Freedoms, espoused by President Franklin D. Roosevelt ...


“In the future days, which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms.


“The first is freedom of speech and expression — everywhere in the world.


“The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way — everywhere in the world.


“The third is freedom from want ... everywhere in the world.


“The fourth is freedom from fear ... anywhere in the world.


“That is no vision of a distant millennium. It is a definite basis for a kind of world attainable in our own time and generation.”


... and the challenge issued by President Barack Obama ...


“I’m asking you to believe. Not just in my ability to bring about real change in Washington ... I’m asking you to believe in yours.”


So as we celebrate America today, let us protect, nurture, and cherish all the extraordinary “ordinary” people who are Americans. And let that be the guiding principle in our negotiations over budget, unemployment, and all the other public business of America. If U.S. working families work and prosper, then so will America. If not, then God have mercy on us all.




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