Community perspective

Our society knows the right way forward

I guess that the president would classify me as a “Never Trumper.” I had seen with my own eyes and read enough about him to know that I didn’t like what I saw even before the election. Since he has been president, I have only seen more reasons to dislike who he is as a person. He obviously has never learned the meaning of love, respect or compassion.

There are others whom I vehemently disagree with, like Charles Koch and our present governor, Mike Dunleavy, but the big difference is that they truly believe in their causes and that is their right. I believe that they are honorable men who see the world from a different perspective. I may be wrong, but they seem to feel that our society is headed toward a fall from the weight of our free stuff for everyone and especially those who are low contributors to the whole. And with that outcome in mind, they may be right.

But then there are the others from the other side, the Bernie Sanderses and Elizabeth Warrens, who vilify the 1 percenters as being greedy and as being uncaring and not paying their fair share. Depending on how you feel about our responsibilities to our fellow man, they may also be right. Remember, there are good and bad people from all segments of society.

The question that we really need to ask ourselves is this: How do we get the best outcome for the nation and its people as a whole? The answer to that is somewhere in the middle. We need to quit blaming the “enemy” and start talking again.

The likes of Jeff Bezos, Jamie Dimon, Bill Gates, the Waltons, the Rockefellers, the du Ponts and many less well-known entrepreneurs have been the engine that has driven our great economy. To vilify them as evil is not only wrong but also counterproductive. All these businesses operate under rules of conduct that our government has (or has not but should) established for the well-being of our society as a whole. Government rules protect us from dangerous drugs, contaminated foods, unsafe transportation and unethical business practices. If they are inadequate, we need to change the rules through our government. Blaming business for not protecting us is like blaming the fox for killing the chicken in the open coop.

Yes, government has been inadequate in its job of protecting and maximizing the best outcome for the whole of society. We all have our own ideas of what is best for us, but can we blame our politicians and government for its failings? I personally think that the problem is staring back at us in the mirror.

National polls show us that, when given the facts, we as a collective society know the right path forward. Whether it is gun laws, drug prices, universal health or money in politics, we know the path forward. We must recognize that government, at least a democratic government, is the people’s tool needed to implement these changes. It is not the enemy.

We can all find someone or something to blame for our nation’s problems and no one wants to be the first to give up anything, but we must face the facts that nothing is going to change unless we are willing to give up something to get a better overall outcome. Let’s get behind our government and change what we can by engaging and compromising.

Our federal politicians are now unduly influenced by corporate and soft money. We see it every day, and, if you are like me, you have felt helpless in finding the vehicle for change. Along comes the proposed 28th Amendment to the Constitution.

It is called “We the People Amendment” and would do the following:

• Require our congressional representatives to be subject to the same laws that we are.

• Make clear that the rights under the Constitution are reserved for “natural persons” only (not corporations).

• Make clear that money used to influence elections is not free speech and must be subject to public disclosure and can be subject to regulation.

I believe that the vast majority of U.S. citizens would back this 28th Amendment, but it will never see the light of day unless the vast majority of us push hard for its adoption. Look up this one-page amendment and see if you don’t agree.

Ed Linkous lives in Fairbanks. He served on the Fairbanks North Star Borough Assembly from 1987-89.

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