When reading yesterday about Trump’s threat to cut off emergency aid to the state of California to assist in its efforts to recover and rebuild after the recent deadly fires, I had to ask … what is a government for, then? It is highly questionable whether food stamp recipients will receive their food stamps next month. Farmers are not receiving the subsidies they were promised to help ease the cost of the tariffs that have cut deeply into their revenues. TSA workers who inspect people and luggage at airports to detect bombs are calling off the job, for they cannot afford to keep working without pay. Inspections of the food we buy at the grocery store are curtailed. And the list of services that we pay for, but are being denied, goes on … and on … and on … ad infinitum.
So what is a government for, then? What is its purpose? For starters, let’s take a look at the Preamble of the United States Constitution:
“We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
First off, note that it is “We the People” who established the government. We the People give the government its legitimacy. So, when the government no longer does those things … no longer promotes the general welfare, but rather only the welfare of a few wealthy people … then what purpose does it serve? Is it truly a government of, by and for the people?
Look at that first point in the Preamble … “in order to form a more perfect union”. This nation is divided as it has never before been. I’m not sure that even the Civil War era was as divisive as the current environment is. What’s worse, though, is that the ‘leader’ of this government is the very one who is causing the divisiveness! The government is doing not one single thing to try to help bring people together, to “form a more perfect union”.
The second point … “establish justice”. Justice? The person in the Oval Office has declared himself to be above the law. Time and time again. So, think about this for a minute. If the head of the government is above the law, if most of his political appointees are considered above the law … can there be justice in this nation? I think not.
The third point … “ensure domestic tranquility”. Can you even say that phrase without either laughing or crying? Domestic tranquility? What the Sam Heck is that???
Fourth point … “provide for the common defense”. Let’s ponder for a minute … does constant and unwarranted criticism of our allies, denigration of such peacekeeping organizations as the United Nations and NATO make us safer? Does the pandering to strong-arm dictators like Putin, Erdoğan, Kim, and Duterte make us safer? Better yet, does the domestic hotbed that exists in this nation make us safer? I think not.
Fifth point … “promote the general welfare”. This is another that would be laughable, if only the laughter didn’t turn to tears. General welfare??? 800,000+ people not getting paid? Food stamps reduced or eliminated? Trash overflowing in national parks? People losing their homes? Food growers unable to meet their mortgage payments? A nation in chaos does not … I repeat, NOT … promote the general welfare.
And finally, the sixth point … “secure liberty and posterity”. Liberty? From what? Liberty from tyranny comes to mind, but we have the most tyrannical leader in the history of the nation, so that can’t be right. Liberty to … go to work without pay? To watch our infrastructure crumble beneath our feet? To listen to the self-promoting lies of a madman? And posterity … defined as “all future generations of people”. Given the government’s stance on climate change and the devastating effects, there aren’t likely to be too many future generations of people.
I return to my original question: What is government for? Whatever it was intended to be for, it no longer fulfills those responsibilities. What do we do about this?
Think about it.