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  • Frank Romans

TWO COUNTRIES UNDER ONE FLAG


"Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand." - Jesus Christ.

Well now, if the previous statement is true, especially if you are a believer, then it would follow that we are on a slippery slope to finality. If you are not a believer, perhaps the Abraham Lincoln version suits you better. "A house divided against itself cannot stand." The fact is either version of the statement is true, never mind who said it.

These are difficult times. It seems we are unable to locate any common ground, and compromise no longer exists. We are quickly becoming a nation of the haves and have-nots. Statements from political leaders hinting or outright stating a stimulus payment makes Americans lazy is false, and reminds one of President Reagan and his "welfare queens" comment. Speaking of Reagan, the trickle-down economic theory he espoused did not, nor has it ever worked. The just-passed Covid-19 relief had zero Republican support. If this is how we continue to govern, against anything the other side proposes, this house will crumble. History will not be kind to a nation of only wealthy or poor. It is widely accepted America's middle class made it great, yet we continue to erode all those historical gains and have hampered labor in favor of business. The tendency to blame the poor for their poorness, that uniquely American "pull up those bootstraps" attitude, especially from those born on second or third base, is a bit reprehensible. In his memoir, Growing Up, Russell Baker recalled a visit to a relief depot in Baltimore to pick up surplus food. His mother covered the food with her coat to hide the telltale packaging. "Being on relief was a shameful thing," Baker wrote. "People who accepted the government's handouts were scorned by everyone I knew, as idle no-accounts without enough self-respect to pay their own way in the world. I'd often heard my mother say the same thing of families in the neighborhood suspected of being on relief. These, I'd been taught to believe, were people beyond hope." Sadly, that view is shared by many today. We must do better.

Inequality acts as a brake on society and government must step in to prevent instability. Democratic Socialism was the compact between government, business, and the people that built our infrastructure from the 1930's to the 1980's, and helped create our middle class. We need more of this. We also need to take a hard look at universal basic income to set a floor that no family can fall below. We have always had the ability, but lacked the political will. Hopefully, we change this before our divided house crumbles around us.



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