Monday, January 16, 2012

We The People

A columnist on the opinion page of the Catholic Times, who is also a professor and president of the teachers' pro-life movement of Korea, takes a look at some of the problems of our society, problems that he sees coming as we move from an underdeveloped country to take our place among the more developed countries of the world.  What should be our understanding of the so-called conservative and progressive viewpoints now dividing many societies of the developed world?  

Many have worked extremely hard for what they have achieved; it doesn't make much sense to have those who  have not made that effort to  ask those who have for help.This was seen recently in the election for mayor, where the central issue was whether free lunches should be provided for students. The columnist acknowledges that this was not only a welfare issue but was also intertwined with politics. The vote went in favor of the free lunches.

He reminds us that society has helped the wealthy to achieve their wealth. He also mentions that efforts were made in the recent election to distort information given to the public. There have been many efforts in the past, he said, when not all pertinent information on important issues has been divulged to the public. In a democracy, this should not be the case. Whether one is conservative or progressive, citizens have the right to have adequate information available to conscientiously elect those who will be running the country. 

To return to the question, why is it that the rich should give more of what they have to help the poor? Those who have received more, some would say, should give more because that is the uniquely generative power of a democracy.  Which can also be seen as a failure of democratic governments to provide full equality to its citizens. We have all seen from the history of the East and the West that those with wealth have often monopolized access to a country's material resources and have also become politically dominant to assure passage of laws that are predominantly self-serving.  

To act in a human way, our columnist reminds us, is to treat everybody the same no matter their background or their capabilities. Both those who give and those who receive should feel they are part of the same human family.  All agree the law of the jungle has no part of a civilized society. It would be a step in the right direction when all those who have also see the need to give, but the government also has the duty to see that all  achieve enough to live in a developed country.

The people, he muses, will soon have the privilege to act as 'king-makers' once again, as they gather this coming year to elect the 'king and his retainers.' It is important, the columnist says,  that the citizens in a democracy understand their role as kings.

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