“We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
In this, the Preamble of the Constitution, please note the words “our posterity.” The authors of this transformational document made clear that this new country made a contract that extended for generations. That fundamental goal no longer exists for the “union” we have today. Instead, over my lifetime, the driving force in our society has been, sadly, self-gratification.
The consumer economy expanded enormously with massive industrialization and the growth of technology. Spurred on by mass advertising campaigns, we bet the future for convenience, entertainment, prestige and identity. Our population and our GDP soared with no thought to any limits; or any thought to the consequences for our “posterity.”
What the baby boomers and the subsequent generation have bequeathed for their next generations is insurmountable debt, a crumbling infrastructure, decaying educational systems, exhausted natural resources, their bodies laced with toxic chemicals, and a climate that is heating up in an unprecedented way.
Perhaps worst of all, we are leaving a dysfunctional economic and political system. If we turn to the Declaration of Independence we can read: “That whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect (sic) their safety and happiness.”
We now find ourselves in a plutocracy that has installed a slate of billionaires in the administration, assisted by a Congress of millionaires, who are committed to destroying the few institutions that remain which “promote the general welfare.” On the chopping block are financial protection from big banks and the multinational corporations, a clean energy economy instead of fossil fuels, protection of water and air, the right to vote for many, effective education, freedom of religion, health care, and retirement protection. This is not nearly a full list.
It is long past time for “we the people” to throw out politicians who no longer deem it necessary to answer to their constituents; and to turn away from the destructive myth of “infinite economic growth” that has brought us to the present. We must “reconstitute” our country. We owe it to the kids; that was the deal.
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