Ever since Ronald Reagan, the Republican mantra has been "Privatize, privatize." You're unpatriotic if you don't want everything privatized. Well, who's unAmerican? Not the Founding Fathers who didn't want everything privatized. Take Ben Franklin, for example. Franklin founded the first public library. He was a rich man; he could have founded a private library, but he was public minded. He was that rare breed who thought not only in terms of himself but in terms of doing something to contribute to public welfare. Franklin also founded the first public fire department. He could have founded a private fire department, and in fact there were and are private fire departments only for the use of those who have paid into them. If you're not a member and your house is on fire, tough luck. But old Ben was a public minded citizen.
I would assert that the Republican agenda of privatization is unAmerican, mean spirited and against the grain and the spirit of Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and other Founding Fathers. One of the things the Republicans want to do away with is public education. Now public education serves the function of giving equal opportunity to all regardless of ability to pay. It is paid for at public expense, or in other words by taxation, mainly by local property taxes. This is precisely why the Republicans want to get rid of it. It is socialistic. No, it even goes beyond that: it's communistic. Let me explain. The communist motto,"From each acccording to his (or her) ability (to pay); to each according to his (or her) needs." If a family with 10 children rents a house, they can send all 10 children to public school, and they pay no property taxes so they essentially get a free education. Of course, the landlord, who may not have any children at all, pays property taxes and supports his tenents' childrens' education. This is why the Republicans are so pissed off about it. They want every child to pay for his or her own education while childless couples should not have to pay anything.
This is what I love about public education: it's communist inspired and it was encouraged by the Founding Fathers! Now take health care. Universal health care is an idea whose time has come. In fact it came a long time ago to all the other developed countries of the world. Health care without regard to ability to pay, in other words, socialized medicine. The Republicans are up in arms over this one. First came public libraries, then public fire departments, then public education and now... public health care? What won't they publickize (or socialize, if you prefer) next? That means that rich Republican millionaires and billionaires and gazillionaires may have to contribute to the health and welfare of the hoi polloi. Horrors! Maybe they won't be able to afford $6000. shower curtains, Learjets and air conditioned dog houses any more!
Now if the Republicans had their way, there would be no public parks, only private parks, no public streets, only private ones, no freeways, only toll roads. If it weren't for Andrew Carnegie, Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and a few other rich people, there would be no public anything. Fortunately, all rich people aren't Republicans. And all rich people aren't totally greedy and selfish. But the point is that the government shouldn't be totally greedy, selfish and represent the interests only of the wealthy either. You know it's too bad if a gazillionaire has to pay something for my health care or any other public service. And it's too bad if they have to pay an estate tax when they die. And why should they even receive social security benefits at all if they're worth a gazillion dollars? They shouldn't even be eligible for any public benefits if their net worth exceeds a certain amount. But that's not how the government operates. If you don't really need the government's help, they give it to you because you're rich and you're one of them. If you really need the government's help, forget it because you're poor and you're not one of them. So go fend for yourself!
The problem is that the US is a plutocracy. Lobbyists write the legislation to favor large corporate interests, and they (the corporate interests) give generously to politicians who return the favor by passing legislation they want passed which increases their profits. The politicians spend millions on TV ads trying to brainwash people instead of educating them. Corporate interests spend millions on TV ads to get the populace to support corporate interests and vote against their own interests. The surprising thing: it works! Given a large enough advertising budget, you can get the hoi polloi to vote for and support anything. This is the Brave New World. Already the drug corporate interests are running ads telling people they shouldn't let their politicians mess with the Medicare drug benefit. Why? Because they're making out like bandits, and their profits would diminish somewhat if Medicare could actually bargain with the drug establishment to bring the price of drugs down. So now two years before a Presidential election which might bring about a change in the laws governing Medicare, corporate interests are already trying to convince the public to tell their Representatives not to mess with the drug benefit which is the same as saying vote against your own interests and in favor of ours. How can people be so dumb?
Where is Ben Franklin when we need him or Thomas Jefferson? These Founding Fathers had a public conscience, cared about people other than themselves. Today corporate interests and their political lackeys are trying to convince you that notions of the public interest are unAmerican and a patritotic American should only be interested in reducing taxes and creating a totally privatized world. In fact the opposite is true. Patriotism is not about war and glory; it's about creating a just and caring society. Where is Ben when we need him?