By Robert De Filippis
I agreed with you, President Reagan, when you said that, "Government's first duty is to protect the people, not run their lives."
But now, as I look back on the years, while I've run my life, the government hasn't always protected me. They say they did when they invaded two countries that were no threat to me or my loved ones.
But the one threat that allowed the government to go to war, again, and still lies at the foundation of the problems in our society remains: A breathtaking ignorance and lack of curiosity that allows lies, myths and superstitions to fill the void it creates.
It's the same one you pandered to Mr. Reagan, when you used the image of a welfare queen you and your fellow Republican, Mr. Nixon, promoted for a several years. It was a brilliant strategy to take our attention away from how you began to strip away regulations that allowed unfettered capitalism to create poverty in America and make it a racial issue. I have to hand it to you, that image had staying power. It's still being used today by your party.
So protect me from this core ignorance that Americans seem to wear so well. You see, this ignorance I fear is what allows ordinary folks to believe your party's claims that those damned unemployed obviously don't want to find jobs. Even though they are caught in an economy whose jobs have been eliminated by automation, productivity improvements and pillaged by corporations who sent them overseas.
And speaking of productivity improvements, I would guess that most people don't know that if the minimum wage had kept up with productivity improvements it would be upwards of $21 per hour. And I'm pretty sure it hasn't occurred to them that $14 of that has been re-distributed upward.
That same ignorance allows people to frequent McDonald's and Walmart who make gargantuan profits while taxpayers provide the benefits that their employees need to survive. Yes we could use some protection here for sure.
And, I think government could put some regulations back in place to protect us from corporations who poison our food, earth, water and air.
And from the greed that permeates Wall Street and allowed insiders to rape and pillage our retirement accounts while they made billions in profits from betting against the toxic investments they sold to us.
How about protecting me from the gun violence in our public places. I fear the emotional numbness beginning to creep in because of almost daily gun carnage.
I need protection from the gerrymandering that allows ineffective people to be re-elected to Congress 90 percent of the time and earn a whopping 10 percent approval rate. You know, those Tea Party darlings who jam up government in ways that cost us even more in economic losses so they can pander to their extremist base.
Our children need protection from school boards who want to teach religion in science class, condemning them to second-class status in a world competing in technology and scientific development.
We also need protection from politicians who confuse their religious beliefs with macro-economics, evolutionary science, and global climate change. You know the ones I mean. These are the same folks who hear the voice of God telling them to go kill thousands of people in those unnecessary wars I mentioned earlier.
But really, I doubt if a government owned by multi-millionaires and billionaires will stop diverting the nation's wealth upward in their direction long enough to protect anyone but themselves. (But that's ok, this whole column is just fantasy anyway.)
Yes, as much a fantasy as the one you used to soil the minds of ignorant Americans when you started the meme, "government is the enemy."
Here's a thought for you. While I admit that our government is a money-devouring, inefficient and wasteful leviathan, it is the only force that might stand between plundering our natural resources for profits and the welfare of society.
Though I will admit, defective as it is, it's the one we deserve.
Robert De Filippis
Author, columnist and blogger with a long career in business management, management consulting and executive coaching. I am a certified ontological coach. I've studied clinical therapeutic practices in Gestalt psychology and am a Certified Birkman Method consultant and trainer. In my early years I worked in manufacturing management from first level supervision to senior executive level responsibilities for a Fortune 500 Company. I've been a business owner and executive, organizational development consultant and executive coach to privately and publicly held companies from 1980 to 2003. I did a short stint in venture capital as an interim CEO and consultant. I currently serve on the Board of Advisors for Dobson Lyle, an Executive Coaching and Assessment company based in London, England. During my career, I worked in the United States, Canada, Central America, Western and Eastern Europe. I never grow tired of my interest in people which has been reflected in my lifelong work. I've trained, developed, coached and mentored individuals and teams at all levels -- from hourly workers to senior executives. I've authored and published three books: "The Flowers Are Talking to Me," "You Yourself and 20th Century" and "Faith Stirred Not Shaken".