Letter to the Editor: Be informed


Dear Editor,
Are you an informed & truly committed citizen of this republic of ours? Do you believe that our nation historically has and should continue to embrace change/growth?
Do you know who our Senators are? Our states’ Representatives? How many our state has? How that’s determined? How many Supreme Court Justice’s the constitution stipulates? The actual origin of the 2nd Amendment? Do you know who/what is responsible for protecting our rights as citizens. Are we, in fact a democracy?
If you think about what you know/think you know about our heritage and history as a nation, from its origin until today; what has made you truly proud? What events do you feel epitomize what we are, or should strive to be as a nation?
Think about it:
The struggle for religious freedom of the puritans? The Salem Witch Trials?
Our Declaration of Independence? The Articles of Confederation?
Our Constitution as originally written?
Its amenability to be made more functional/perfect through our active and informed amendment of it, almost universally focused on providing us more and more freedom to function as thinking human beings?
Our embrace of, failure to turn away from slavery? Our treatment of blacks during the years of legal segregation? Our acceptance of ghettos in our cities? The homeless? Our treatment of/acceptance of minorities overall?
Our involvement in conflicts: the Indian wars, a variety of conflicts to foment or prevent regime change in Latin America or elsewhere, The Mexican War, The Civil War, World War 1, WW2, Korea, Vietnam, the Middle East, Afghanistan?
Our seeming willingness to accept our children’s gun suicides, our expressed societal dysfunctionality through an embrace of drugs, untreated mental illness particularly epitomized by our unfathomable embrace of and focused distribution of weapons designed exclusively to kill our children, ourselves and our fellow human beings?

The gift of and meaning of the Statue of Liberty?
Our treatment of/welcoming of immigrants over the years? From England, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Eastern Europe, China, Japan, Latin America, Haiti?
Our seemingly prideful embrace of and definition of ourselves as a capitalist economic system, unfettered by and seemingly offended by the thought of public regulation?
Social Security? The Interstate Highway system? The WPA? Our public utilities? Ma Bell? Our public education systems, elementary, secondary, public universities? Our public health care system? NASA? The Voice of America? The Peace Corps?
Is it possible we’re being fed a load of (pick one): horse hockey, bull feces, manure, mushroom feed?
I would argue that we have over our two and a half centuries of existence as a nation exhibited these qualities when we are at our best:
A willingness to accept and embrace needed change.
An understanding that our constitution must reflect and drive that change, whatever the resistance presented to it.
An understanding that we as a nation; as well as we as individual human beings, are not perfect, but must always strive for perfection, lest we regress into fear and inhumanity.
An understanding that we are, and have necessarily been for at least the last century, an evolving amalgam of public and private industry…. In other words (hold your breath) a blend of economic capital and public/social effort.
A growing understanding that we, if we are truly exceptional as a nation, are exceptional in that we constantly are focused on our responsibilities as individual citizens to embrace democracy and guide/lead, not only our nation, but the world, toward “a more perfect union” embracing freedom, democracy, diversity and ever evolving humanity.
Jim Martin