Atlantis Alumni

Friday, September 16, 2011

America Is Becoming A Nasty Place To Live

America is becoming a nasty place to live...a country where a sizable segment of the population believes that it's everyone for themselves, and if you find yourself poor, sick or old, without enough money to survive, that's too bad, you're on your own. The other day during the Republican presidential debate, the audience cheered to let those who are sick without health insurance die. What happened to the compassionate America of the New Deal, the Great Society, and the War on Poverty? Paul Krugman diagnoses the problem in today's New York Times:
...modern conservatism is actually a deeply radical movement, one that is hostile to the kind of society we’ve had for the past three generations — that is, a society that, acting through the government, tries to mitigate some of the “common hazards of life” through such programs as Social Security, unemployment insurance, Medicare and Medicaid.

Krugman is right, but he offers no antidote to the radical shift in American ethics. I would suggest that part of the problem is a dearth of strong, articulate political leadership from the left. Since Ronald Reagan started our moral decline into a society based upon selfishness and individualism, we've only had two Democratic Party presidents, Clinton and Obama. Clinton ended welfare and Obama offers to cut Medicare. Neither one forcefully articulates a vision of an America where 46 million in poverty is an intolerable disgrace.

After Edward Kennedy died we were left with no strong advocates for social and economic justice on the national scene. I'm afraid things will have to get much worse for those who can least afford it, before leaders emerge once again to champion the cause of American egalitarianism. Until then the "freedom" to die due to lack of treatment and health insurance, the "freedom" to live in poverty, and the "freedom" to see our children poorly educated, these "freedoms" will have to suffice.

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