WASHINGTON — It’s entirely up to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) whether 2.6 million unemployed Americans get their benefits back, at least according to the two senators most involved in legislation to restore the compensation.
It troubles me that so much power is being concentrated in so few people. When one person can decide whether millions will fall through the safety net. But something else troubles me even more.
What happens when a substantial majority of U.S. citizens no longer have any empathy for others in our society? It is pretty much a fact that about 25% of us want to eliminate help for those who need it. Some say they are ripping apart the safety net to rescue those caught in it. Some say outright that they just don’t want to have to pay the taxes necessary to be their brother’s keeper. Some have absolutely no sense of community or the common good. They are just too busy looking out for themselves to see any good from helping a neighbor. And then there are some who flat out don’t want government in any form to intrude into their lives.
What happens when these groups become a majority in the country? The primary motivation for all of the above things is greed. They just don’t want anyone taking things from them that they consider theirs alone. Another part of this trend is driven by fear. Fear is such a strong motivator in our society today. We fear that there won’t be enough for all of us so we want to make sure we are the ones who survive. I try to be an optimist and think that eventually the pendulum will swing back in a more balanced direction and that somehow we will quit views those who disagree with us in any manner as our enemy.
I hope we have learned our lesson about putting too much power in the hands of a few people. Hitler is the most recent example of this but by no means the only one. When a small handful of politicians can control what all of us do we are in trouble of losing our democracy. In order to prevent that from getting worse than it is now we all most realize that “we the people” inevitably have the power and not the politicians. We must take our right to vote with the utmost seriousness or it just maybe eventually stripped from us.