Politicians, with soft spines and moral compasses no longer pointing north, have become wholly owned subsidiaries of Special Interests Inc. and Mega-Business Unlimited. “Establishing justice, insuring domestic tranquility, providing for the common defense, promoting the general welfare, and securing the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity,” has been crushed under the weight of partisan bickering and a landscape awash in uncountable dollars.
There is plenty of blame to share; as they say, “we get the government we deserve.” But since money has long tentacles, we seem — in my humble opinion — to be getting the government the upper crust deserves.
I am not a “class warrior.” I do not dislike nor inherently distrust the wealthy; truth be told, I would like to be so labeled. I also do not believe that money is the “root of all evil,” rather it simply allows you be more of who you already were. As illustration, if you’re a charitable, involved, dedicated person with an empty wallet and fate or hard work decrees you great prosperity, you become a charitable, involved, dedicated person with a lot of money; able to do much more. Unfortunately, if you were a jerk with but a few dollars who happens to receive a fortune; you become a jerk with a lot of coin, increasing your jerkness. That said, I cannot deny that — lately — it appears many well-off folks have an “I-got-mine,-the-heck-with-you” way of thinking.
It is distressing to think that the concept of helping “the least of us” has become quaint and passé.
An addict, unable to give up my painful addiction, I collapse on my couch to watch the Sunday morning news shows. Ironically from the same spring as my depression bubbles forth hope.
Warren Buffett, Bill and Melinda Gates, and Ted Turner; three members of the aforementioned privileged order were discussing their views on charity and — in a broader sense — the general order of society. I do not have a great deal in common with these denizens of the uber-wealthy community. They can spend more at a restaurant than I will spend on a year’s groceries. I seek out for-sale items in stores they buy and sell. We’re not on the same strata.
But short of the number of zeros in our paychecks, turns out we actually have a lot in common. Ms. Gates summed it up, “With great wealth comes great responsibility.” All are working diligently to give away vast amounts of their fortunes before they die; Mr. Buffett has pledged to donate more than 90 percent. With projects ranging from U.S. schools to Global Nuclear Disarmament to Energy Conservation, this crew of ultra-fortunate share a belief that we are all interconnected and they are asking others of the same class to join them, sharing a common belief that it is wrong to not give it back to those on whom their success was built.
I understand they are not saints (none of us are). I know they don’t have to choose whether or not they can afford to go to a doctor. None will ever wake up at 3AM wondering how to pay their mortgages. Yet, that does not detract from an extremely powerful benevolent gesture.
Maybe, just maybe, we’re better than I thought we were. I can hope.