For the Common Good of the Community

bonum commune communitatis

What’s not to get here? The preamble of the Declaration of Independence is pretty clear about this one point:

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.

What it means is that the founders of the United States of America believed that ALL people must have access to the things that give life, liberty, and happiness – regardless of class, economic situation, religion, race, or creed. Bonum commune communitatis. And yet, we support a system that restricts all that is good to the limited few who can afford it.

A shocking number of American voters are ready to install a man for President who is the epitome of wanton corporate greed. I’m not a poor person myself. I still collect royalties from various projects I have had the pleasure to produce. And I still work. I haven’t taken a penny of unemployment benefits in more than 40 years. I have never used food stamps, never had the need for Medicare, and at my age, I’m not even taking Social Security benefits – because I don’t need them. Yet, when I strike out in support of Bernie Sanders (for instance) the first image that some conservatives think is that I’m a taker. To be honest, I think most of these supporters depend on the very same benefits they complain about.

When I use the word “Socialism” to describe the famous preamble, I feel like the lone surviving mole in a game of Whack-a-Mole. The very same people who malign me as a “taker” are ready to line up to call me lots of other funny little names. First off, most of them don’t even realize what they’re saying – much less understand what the word CAN mean. The good folks at People’s World have posted what I believe is one of the better, wider responses to the question: What is Socialism? But it is important to note – this country has implemented many socialistic concepts for the greater good. My father was like a lot of these guys who tote guns and sing praises of the Grand Old Party. He was also a proud, card-carrying member of the Steamfitters Union Local 638. Funny how things change, but don’t.

I hope, somehow, the majority of American voters will realize that the common good means freedom. I hope that someday we realize that “Life Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” is more than a patriotic slogan. It’s a promise.

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