The problem with politics in the USA in the 21 st century has a lot to do with the misunderstanding of language and tradition, as well as the fervent adherence to the old theatrical axiom that if you blow your line, repeat it, louder, like you meant it and no one will know it was a mistake.
But it does come down to a perversion of the tradition of Franklin, both of them, Benjamin and Roosevelt.
Benjamin Franklin our bon vivant founding father was an intellectual, a promoter of the democratization of education; he founded the free lending libraries. This tradition in the 21 st century is honored with the mandate that no child be left behind implemented in a manner that insures its success by making sure that no one is going anywhere.
Franklin Roosevelt put the nation to work in the service of freedom, of his four freedoms the crucial one was the freedom from fear, indeed there was nothing to fear but fear itself. In the 21 st century we have seen this inverted and distorted. Indeed it is all about freedom and we must fear for it, fear for our way of life, fear the terrorists, fear must motivate us but this time we must embrace it. Freedom from fear will leave us defenseless we are told with patriotic fervor delivered with the certainty of a bad actor making the most of the spotlight.
Yes we have the best traditions of the Franklins shepherded into the new millennium by the anti-Franklin, indeed what we have to start the century is Franklinstein taking advantage of the shortened attention span and hot button sound bite to adamantly repeat his miscues.
But it all comes down to the flaws of language; the alternate interpretations of meaning that confound us all. Words have too many truthful and personal meanings. When I say I love you do you understand what that means to me?
In this case the problem is with Equality, a core value and a word culturally as ambiguous as love. What does Equality mean to you?
Is it tinged with the cold war communist axiom – from each according to ability, to each according to needs – that deconstructs to every one gets the same. Clip the wings of the achievers to bring up the base. This is equality to fear.
To me Equality is informed by civil rights memories, of equal opportunity, of parity in the quality of life, of a certainty of basics of survival and safety as a platform for carrying on. That is the only way forward, celebrating champions and CEO’s who actually deliver with regal lifestyles while we mortals remain safe in our homes secure in the knowledge that fear lives elsewhere.