Wealth and power are not things that most working people think about day in and day out. Yet, the neighborhoods where we reside, and the communities where we work are impacted in so many ways by those who control the branches of government, and, therefore, our society.
To understand what has been happening in America, much light has been shed by a non-profit organization called In The Public Interest (ITPI). The founder and executive director of ITPI, Donald Cohen, has spent many years analyzing the trends resulting from strategic policy initiatives, which have reshaped our institutions and important aspects of life in America.
Cohen’s recently-published book entitled “Dismantling Democracy” is a quick read that discusses the forty-year attack on government, and the critical need for concerned citizens to re-establish the common good.
Since the 1970’s, a constellation of aligned conservative institutions, grassroots issue groups, academics, intellectuals, industry leaders, and politicians has been enormously successful at shifting fundamental attitudes toward government and its basic role in American Society. These groups have focused on winning the hearts and minds of people not with detailed policy prescriptions, but with a set of beliefs and conventional wisdom, a vaguely defined national philosophy that protects the privileges of the wealthy and powerful.
Given the wide disparities in wealth in our country and efforts to restructure programs that benefit many, Cohen is right on point in suggesting that we need to reclaim the very idea of the public and recognize that there are important things we can and must do together. In that regard, we must reject attempts to delegitimize our government, and be on guard of campaigns to de-regulate aspects of our society under the notion that a free-market business model is what’s best for citizens.
Corporate profiteers and the wealthiest 1% in America have sought to de-stabilize our branches of government, and open the door to privatization as the answer, where quality public services are traded for money-making ventures by entities that have little or no responsibility for the common good.
Extreme concentrations of wealth hurt working people. Our role as citizens must include an appreciation of our obligations, responsibilities, and rights. We must pay for the things we value as a society and not only the specific services we receive. When we do well individually and collectively, it strengthens our communities and ensures the common good! That’s what being a Teamster is all about.
Don’t you owe it to yourself to join with others who want a voice at work? Join your Local Affiliate of the Teamsters, today!