Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The 2nd Bill of Rights

Allow me quote Franklin Delano Roosevelt from the State of the Union Address on January 11, 1944.

"This Republic had its beginning, and grew to its present strength, under the protection of certain inalienable political rights—among them the right of free speech, free press, free worship, trial by jury, freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures. They were our rights to life and liberty.

As our nation has grown in size and stature, however—as our industrial economy expanded—these political rights proved inadequate to assure us equality in the pursuit of happiness.

We have come to a clear realization of the fact that true individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence. 'Necessitous men are not free men.' People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made.

In our day these economic truths have become accepted as self-evident. We have accepted, so to speak, a second Bill of Rights under which a new basis of security and prosperity can be established for all—regardless of station, race, or creed.

Among these are:

The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the nation;

The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;

The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living;

The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad;

The right of every family to a decent home;

The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;

The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment;

The right to a good education."

Now, the government cannot magically legislate these things into existence. The People cannot accomplish this vision by simply voting for these things. It's a lot more complicated than that.

What the government can do is work toward this vision. A vision that will benefit everybody to a reasonable degree rather than allowing a small elite to become obscenely rich while millions don't have a decent place to live, decent health care and enough to eat. What the People can do is vote for legislators and leaders that are dedicated to making Roosevelt's vision a reality.

Rush Limbaugh thinks this is an absurd vision. The Conservative Right thinks this is an absurd vision. Why? Because the elite can't get ridiculously richer under this vision. Oh, they can still get rich. Just not quite as rich.

I think Rush Limbaugh and the Conservative Right are absurd, greedy as hell, but absurd. Why are you working and middle class folks listening to them rather than Franklin Roosevelt?

Allow me to also quote a slightly older document.

"We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…"

Roosevelt's vision is the "pursuit of Happiness" alluded to above. No one, including the government, can guarantee you'll catch it, but the government can guarantee it will help everyone pursue it.

That's everyone Rush, and not just a privileged few. So why are you people listening to Rush Limbaugh rather than Thomas Jefferson?

If this be Socialism, then so be it.

So comrades, come rally, and the last fight let us face.

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