Monday, October 21, 2013

In Order to Form A More Perfect Union

New York Times’ columnist Tom Friedman,  had a particularly interesting op-ed piece in Sunday’s paper. Now, all things considered Mr. Friedman is from St. Louis Park, a suburb of Minneapolis….that city of the other side of the Mississippi that I try to avoid as much as possible. So that makes Tom Friedman a Minnesotan and Minnesotans sometimes allow the “nice” gene to get in the way of his own good judgment. Most of the time, however, he’s a pretty sane reporter, specializing in Middle East and good ol’ American politics. I often disagree with him, but sometimes he writes something that sticks with me. Sunday’s column is sticking, but maybe not for the reasons one might think.

He wrote:
Seriously, you’d get a much better feel for Washington politics today by reading “Lawrence of Arabia” than the Federalist Papers. This is not good news.

I think he’s on to something; business as usual is not what it used to be. And like the guy said, this is not good news.  So, humor me for a moment. Let’s go back to the beginning.

July 4th, 1776: 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…:

September 17, 1787: Preamble to the Constitution of the United States:

We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, 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.

As a follow-up to the mission statement that is the Declaration, the Preamble is pretty good. In succinct language, it sorta tells the world who We, the People, are and what We, the people believe to be good governance. The problem is, however, that We, the People, have lost sight of the elegant truths we should be holding as self-evident.

In order to form that more perfect union, the colonists had to come together to form a union in the first place. This means that there needed to be some measure of agreement that would bind the thirteen individual colonies into  nation. Part of that process is the development of a sense of community…in the classic sense of the word.

Merriam-Webster defines community as:

a unified body of individuals: as in
a:  state, commonwealth
b: the people with common interests living in a particular area; broadly :  the area itself <the problems of a large community>
c: an interacting population of various kinds of individuals (as species) in a common location
d:  a group of people with a common characteristic or interest living together within a larger society <a community of retired persons>
e:  a group linked by a common policy
f:  a body of persons or nations having a common history or common social, economic, and political interests <the international community>
g: a body of persons of common and especially professional interests scattered through a larger society <the academic community>

That perfect union has to be the umbrella over the whole community of states. That community is the foundation for a government that will establish a system of justice for all, insure the domestic tranquility through actions designed to foster good communal relations between citizens as well as states, provide for the common defense against enemies of this burgeoning nation, promote the general welfare/wellbeing of the citizenry, and protect the liberty of the individual citizens…..all under that umbrella of the Constitution.

When the GOP shouts, “Defund Obamacare! Defund Obamacare!” but presents nothing in its place, I wonder why they would throw their own people under the bus. The rural South, so Republican, where grinding poverty is all too often the norm, where manufacturing jobs have evaporated, where un- and underemployment is rampant, their elected officials are fighting against the very systems that will provide access to affordable health care. How can that be? Who in their right mind would vote for someone who hates their very existence?

These are the same elected officials who work to defund SNAP and Head Start, programs that provide children in poverty with food and educational intervention. What happens to those kids? And what happens to the parents who rely on those programs to give the kids a place to be so they can go to work? Quit the job and go on the dole? Isn’t that exactly what they don’t want?

Just as having community is not Communism, having liberty is not Libertarianism. No one is advocating the government take over our bodies…unless, of course, you’re Republican and believe you have the G-d given right to control all women’s bodies and how we reproduce. And doing and saying whatever you please is not how one maintains a nation, it’s a recipe for anarchy. We have been waiting for the fruits of deregulation  for over 2 decades...but have learned, rather painfully, they do not exist. 

So here's the straight skinny:
We, the People are not interested in the Right Wing version of sharia law.
We, the People, are not interested in the Right Wing notion that they control all women’s bodies.  
We, the People, are not interested in economic terrorism waged by the Right Wing against middle and lower classes.
We, the People are not going to kowtow to Right Wing delusions.

We, the People, are interested in is a Congress that cooperates.
We, the People, are interested in access to health care for all citizens regardless of income. 
We, the People, are interested in a nation where all children have access to education.
We, the People, are interested in a government in which all socioeconomic classes are represented.

Which brings us back to the Preamble: to form that more perfect union, there needs to be community first… complete with great diversity and differences. There’s room for everyone under the umbrella of the Constitution.

This country is for We, ALL the People along with all 
our similarities, our differences, our follies and our foibles.
Not just the 2%.

The Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week
Advocating for a hospitalized patient is a sacred duty. 
Stay the course....and don't let 'em bully you.


  1. there needs to be community first
    This is an untruth, in my opinion. There needs to be individualism first. That is the foundation of strong community. Community second.

    When you say .....we want a Congress to cooperate? Even against principles? Hell no. Why didn't you mention a President who cooperates? Obamacare was ...and still is not popular you know.
    More partisanship. We are now 2 separate countries. The Left Country and The Right Country. I'm okay with that. We will never agree on principle.



  2. What haunts me is that without election finance reform, we will never have a Congress that truly represents all socioeconomic classes. Capitalism has run amuck since deregulation became a federal mantra and money controls far too much of our policy-making. I support a finance fund from which all candidates draw and the complete abolition of other finance sources.

    I must ask Doug, regarding his comment here: what is driving your derision? You don't support the Affordable Care Act obviously, but why?

    1. Personally, my insurance went up. And the fact that WITH employee based health care, I STILL get a tax penalty ($63/year). That is clearly wrong. And the fact that so many of the biggest insurers are dropping out of certain states, to the point where a handful of states have just ONE option in the exchange. And we needed tort reform. Without it, health care is going to remain as broken as ever.


  3. I know I'm late to the party, but I just wanted to thank you for the article. I am in complete agreement.

    And as far as the ACA goes, let's just get it done. No more whining and not offering a solution. No more whipping people into a frenzy of stupid. (I'm looking at you, Fox "News".) Let's do what we have to and move on.