So, one of my faithful readers who comments privately sent me a very interesting message. She noted that while Americans have retained our fierce individualism, we seem to have lost the value placed on the common good. Policy changes in the US seem to be very quickly eroding programs that used to care for the common good.
World-wide we hear about the issues with public schools in the US. The No Child Left Behind program seems to have specifically left all children behind. Public schools provide educations that seem to be sub-standard in most states. The environment is also a bit dicey at many public schools. With more and more money going to fight wars (that we have no business being in… I’m just saying), less and less is available to hire and train quality teachers. And, bottom line, your child’s education is as good as their teacher.
Add to that the drastic cuts to programs that provided coverage for the poorest Americans and the public good does seem to be well and truly dead as an American value. And yet… is it? Somehow the high level of rhetoric on both sides of the political aisle seem to be polarizing people and making the hesitant to appear as one or the other. After all, both sides look particularly bad these days, I’d rather the associated with choice c. None of the Above. But what about public good?
One thing we haven’t seen change is America’s empathy with those in tough situations. When Hurricane Katrina hit our area before the move, we saw aid and prayer pouring out. Americans showed themselves to be as willing to give in a big way as they have historically been. What seems to have happened is that Americans are generous, but bowing to policy that makes them seem uninterested in the plight of the “other.” I’m not convinced it’s intentional, but it is what is happening.
My firm and sincere hope is that we see the America John Zoghby saw in his book come to fruition. This would be the America that isn’t represented by the polarization of the parties. I also hope we’ll see people begin to think beyond themselves to their neighbors, their state-mates, and their fellow countrymen. If people will stop pushing a political agenda and start thinking with their hearts about fellow humans, I think change will come in the political parties rather abruptly. After all, it becomes a requirement for survival.