As I listen to the wrangling of the federal and state politicians over the latest feud of the day, I become exhausted. Although I like to keep up with what’s going on in our world, and be an active part of my community and my state, I find I am often overloaded, and I have to turn off the radio, turn off the TV and take a break.
However, there have always been politicians, history is full of political fighting and upheaval, and it will continue because it is the foundation of democracy that everyone gets a voice. So I must endure the endless political debate and rhetoric.
Through it all, I turn to the philosophical question of the reason for government. I have come to one basic conclusion – government must be the enforcer of our social conscience. That social conscience, spelled out in the constitution and bill of rights, is often lost in our small and local battles over money. It then lies with the government – our legislators, to remember the social and moral tenets of America and Maine and our town, and step up to the plate and make decisions, not as Republicans or Democrats or Independents or Green Party, or whomever, but as keepers of America’s social and moral conscience.
Looking back over history, our government is responsible for moving beyond bigotry to make sure slaves were freed, women got voting rights, and all races were equal. That is their job.
Today, I am worried that our legislators may have lost sight of that responsibility. Particularly I am concerned that large and small money battles are being waged on the backs of older adults and adults with disabilities who have no recourse to change their lot in life.
“…the moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; those who are in the shadows of life; the sick, the needy and the handicapped.” (Last speech of Hubert H. Humphrey)