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This Week

Perspectives

Chris Jepson

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“Men at some time are masters of their fates:

The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,

But in ourselves …”

— Cassius from Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar”

Ah, the human condition. I am of mixed emotions when assessing mankind. And why wouldn’t any “rational” human being? One moment, I am upbeat, optimistic and enthralled with our species — enchanted, if you will. The next, I despair at our collective stupidity. Progress may, indeed, be inexorable, but the steps, the stumbles, are oh so treacherous.

What to make of our nation, of America, of us as a people? Are we (as individual citizens) so incapable of discerning reality, of separating the wheat of “truth” from the chaff of deception that all we are as a nation is risked over meaningless slogans, historical revisionism and lies? Are we not required to think for ourselves and in that process, to thoughtfully consider our fellow Americans?

Whenever I consider an issue, I start from my ideal. A problem? What is the ideal solution? If we lived in the best of all possible worlds, would we have poor people, or the chronically ill? Would the elderly or young ever require more than what their family’s could provide? Would bad luck or misfortune hobble or maim the strong? Or the vulnerable? Would not all our investment/financial decisions be wise, profitable and just?

Furthermore, would women not be universally considered and respected as men’s equal? Would we not, indeed, be color-blind (as in race/ethnicity/religion)? Would not man’s ecological footprint be truly green and have been so since the dawn of the industrial revolution? Would not mankind’s population be in harmony with what Mother Earth could sustainably support? Would not our species (as individuals, nations and people) be kind, generous and tolerant with one another? No war? No poverty?

Would not all our children be born healthy, whole and fulfilled, living with loving parents in decent homes, with nutritious food, with health care and challenging educational opportunities? Would not all our citizens be industrious, live crime-free lives of fulfillment, creativity and die peacefully knowing their progeny will experience the same?

But, alas, we do not live in the best of all possible worlds as I (or you) might imagine or create if one were a god. No, we live in this world. We live now. With all its attending sorrow, pain and suffering.

As context and relativism are everything, I have the occasional reader take me to task for lauding President’s Roosevelt’s New Deal efforts to help the hurt Americans experienced during the Great Depression. They will caustically and ignorantly dismiss Roosevelt’s (our) government’s achievements by saying the New Deal was just socialism, that it accomplished nothing meaningful and it was WWII that pulled America out of the Great Depression.

And I mentally shout, “You ignoramus! Do you not see that America’s WWII mobilization was nothing more than a completely organized, government-mandated social program? Everybody worked. Everybody participated. Everyone had a job to do. It was complete socialism. Orchestrated by the government, for the people. For the nation. And it was considered good.”

Jump ahead today, and Republicans have morphed into “weaponized Keynesians.” They wail, “We must save the defense budget because any cuts will be horrible, because jobs will be lost!”

What hypocrisy! The government can “legitimately” create jobs only to the extent that they are military related? Shameful.

Please see the deceit in their position. Think/vote accordingly.