Referring to 47 percent of Americans, Mitt Romney [Republican presidential candidate] has said, “My job is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”
Does Romney really believe that nearly half of all Americans are irresponsible freeloaders? Is he talking about you? If not, look at the guy next to you; it must be him.
Yes, there are welfare queens, but they do not make up anywhere close to half of our population. No, most of Romney’s 47 percent are the poor and the elderly.
Yet have the elderly not paid taxes throughout their working years? Have they not sacrificed to create the generally free and prosperous society we enjoy today?
How about the poor? Do they not send a disproportionate number of their sons and daughters to defend our freedoms? Do they not undertake a disproportionate share of life’s drudgery, thereby enabling the rest of us to live more comfortably?
Romney may want us to believe otherwise, but it is not the poor and the elderly who have created the downward spiral we are in.
Nor are our problems caused by what Romney calls “entitlements.” By birth we are entitled to nothing. Not education, not health care, not a safe work environment, not a pension, nor a sound national infrastructure.
Entitlements are given to us by our society for the betterment of that society. For example, we build schools and pay teachers not because children have some inherent right to an education but because we believe it is in the common good that members of our society be educated. Entitlements exist not to help people but to improve our society.
We must move beyond the puerile idea of “fairness.” Chimpanzees become angry when they feel they are being treated unfairly. A young child insists that the pbj sandwich be divided exactly in half.
It doesn’t matter that Jimmy has not eaten in three days; fair is fair — I want my half. If we cannot move beyond this kind of childish thinking, our future is bleak.
We’ll never build a better society if we allow ourselves to be divided — rich against poor, race against race, Republican against Democrat, government against the governed.
There is nothing necessarily wrong with men who amass fortunes. But such men are often detached from reality (imagining the rest of us to be freeloaders). They are seldom great leaders.
Great leaders are men and women who have proven themselves through lives of conviction, courage, and sacrifice.