Even better than we realize

Published 10:12 pm Monday, December 16, 2013

There are many things for which Americans can be thankful — the many freedoms we enjoy, our representative government, our wealth as a people, our abundant food supply, clean drinking water, advances in technologies, quality medical care, access to information, churches and non-profits, opportunities for an education and more.

But in all this thankfulness we miss a major point. Often we miss the true meaning of what we have, because we do not compare ourselves with the many people and nations that have much less.

In the Gettysburg Address, Lincoln stated that America’s Founding Fathers “brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.”

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He meant not just a “new” nation but a new “kind” of nation. Even today no other nation on earth is based on “the proposition that all men are created equal.” No other nation strives toward all people having equal rights and opportunities as we do. We are not there yet, but that is where we are trying to go.

Other nations are structured so that a few people control the government and economy for their benefit, not for the benefit of others. A few wealthy children will be guaranteed rich, sheltered lives in other countries, but most children are guaranteed to live in poverty.

The family of rich children will be a part of the small group that controls the government and economy. The parents see the nation as their personal business. As long as this group controls the military, police and the rest of the government, their children will live in safety. They will have opportunities for a quality education, have quality health care, and be assured of living in the same affluent life style as their parents.

In such nations, rich families control the flow of money. Often this money comes from the sale of raw materials such as oil, precious metals, lumber, rubber, food products and commercial products. These materials and products are created based on keeping most people poor and willing to work for little money.

Money also flows into the nation to support the military and police that helps the rich people maintain control of the poor, uneducated people who might rise up against oppression. Often this money comes from other nations that benefit from the cheap materials and products produced by the oppressed poor.

In such places, the rich spend most of their money shopping in developed nations such as the United States and Europe, so their money does not support the local economy.

Children born into poor families will remain poor without opportunities. Government (the rich people) will spend little if any money on education, health care and other government services, knowing that educated, healthy people are likely to rise up against oppression.

If the poor attempt to demonstrate against oppression, the military and police brutally put down any uprising. Some taken prisoner will be tortured to death. If the demonstrators achieve some success in attempting to bring about change, the powerful few will maneuver to regain control.

When we say we are thankful for our freedoms and opportunities we should also remember that no other nation strives toward all people having equal rights and opportunities as we do.

In other nations, people live in terror of governments that think nothing of killing to maintain control. These rich people do not care that millions of children die of starvation and bacteria-laced drinking water (or no drinking water at all). These people only care about maintaining control so their children can live the kind of lives we strive to achieve for all American children.

Joseph L. Bass, Ed.D., is the executive director of ABetterSociety.Info Inc., a nonprofit organization in Hobson. Email him at ABetterSociety1@aol.com.