But those ideals are aspirations rather than actuality. There have always been tacit exceptions. White privilege. Male dominance. Special consideration for the rich and famous.
And as some exceptions have diminished, others have become more rank with time. Power brings riches and riches bring power. That’s just the way it is.
And the madding crowd is its own worst enemy, distracted by the froth and frills of life, fawning at the feet of celebrities and seeking their own 15 seconds of fame… blinded by the spotlight, deafened by the crude rhythms of hyped-up “music”… hypnotized by the screens of their laptops and smart phones…
With a public that insists on being uninformed, misinformed and disinformed, the wizards of Wall Street and the corporate warlords have devised subtle stratagems to channel more and more of the nation’s wealth into their own pockets.
Instead of evolving into a more perfect union as the Founding Fathers had hoped, America has slowly but surely become an oligarchy in which the golden calf rules supreme.
Meanwhile, at every level of society, special interests compete for a bigger piece of the pie. Instead of focusing on the common good, on making a bigger and better pie, each sliver of society asks, “Where’s my share? What about me?”
Gone are the days when JFK could advise us to ask not what our country can do for us but ask what we can do for our country. That kind of wide-eyed idealism has been replaced by such primitive instincts as greed, resentment and jealousy.
In such a political climate, nobody can devise a program acceptable to everybody. As we go to the polls again today we go with our hands out for our own selfish gain, not with our arms open to embrace each other.
In such a political climate, I fear that a demagogue like Donald Trump will rise to power and the national mosaic will unravel into chaos.