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Thursday, March 12, 2015

Working Minds Essay #107: The New Civil War Is About Justice

{I got into a back-and-forth in the Opinion/Letters Dept. of the weekly local newspaper that took from October 2014 to March 2015 to be resolved. My final essay of 828 words had to be cut down to 512; this is a variation of the longer version.}

The open question was: 'What makes the United States the best country in the world?'.

The French Revolution [1789-1799] took on the slogan "Liberté, égalité, fraternité (liberty, equality, brotherhood)" but that does not satisfy the open question. Americans generally agree with the French motto, but this was not what drove the signers of the Declaration of Independence to "mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor".

I say that what the America's Founding Fathers were about was the achievement of Justice for the residents of the American Colonies.

'No taxation without representation' was at the forefront. And there was no way to attain representation under the authoritarian King George III. (Such was impossible in the practical sense as well: imagine trying to deal with votes in Britain's Parliament from across the Atlantic Ocean, a voyage that then took more than a month each way.)

The United States was built on the notion of the existence of the Individual, for whom the local and national governing bodies should provide a just environment. And that also meant justice for all, although it took a long while for such benefits to include slaves, females, and minorities – even in theory. A large part of the tension and acrimony and violence today is because theoretical justice for black and brown and red and yellow people, women, LGBT people, non-Christians, the elderly, the young, and the poor are being rolled back. The fascist Koch Brothers, their A.L.E.C. program, their Koch-funded T.E.A. Party radicals, white supremacists, and other anti-justice folk really intend to cancel the rights gained by the oppressed in hard-fought battles over the last 200 years.

There is no justice in working a full-time job of any kind and being unable to feed one's family. Thus the outcry by the working poor and their sympathizers. (None of whom have the dollars that were decreed to be free speech by the fascist Supreme Court all of five years ago this January.)

There is no justice in my personal vote having to battle with the multiple millions of dollars available to each member of the Oligarchy, the One Percent.

There is no justice in the Republican Party's attempt to bankrupt the U.S. Postal Service and the member-funded Social Security program, and to destroy life-saving Medicare, Medicaid, and Obamacare.

The citizens of America are willing to pay for equal opportunity – in health care, in education, for insurance of all kinds, for access to wilderness and recreation, and inside the criminal system – while the Oligarchy spends a tiny percentage of their largely untaxed wealth to prevent equality of opportunity. The fascist Oligarchy purchased both houses of Congress in November 2014, while the working poor cannot come close.

As I say, the concept of Justice was central to the Founding Fathers, and the great extent to which that abstract Value has been removed from the public conversation is why the United States is faltering in its role as Leader of The Free World. (Rather tough to lead when you are moving backwards, eh?)

Black citizens of Ferguson and the rest of Missouri, black and brown in Florida, any minority in Jim Crow Kansas, and short brown people in Apartheid Arizona continue to experience the brunt of the anti-Justice policies of the largely white and largely male and largely pseudo-Christian majority.

The ideal of Justice is why many of our ancestors came to America and why many in other lands are still hoping to get here somehow.

But the reality is that Justice is being taken away while the ignorant watch dance shows and soap operas, the violent wear hoods in the night, the mis-informed suck up more propaganda from right-wing Faux News pundits, and the weak give up and stay home.

The Oligarchs want no taxation, period – at least not for them. The citizens of America, however, want to fix our broken infrastructure, to clean up the polluted environments that we live in, to educate our children, to restore justice to the criminal justice system, to boost the economy by creating jobs, to enable health and well-being for all, and to bring back the once-thriving Middle Class.

The extant Civil War in America is being fought over the issue of Justice. Which side are you on?
Copyright 2015 by G.E. Nordell, all rights reserved

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