Seeing the Round Corners

May 2, 2016


Far too often we ordinary American citizens work hard in various elections thinking a candidate has finally comes onto the scene with values and ideas we can live with and support, only to find that candidate arrives in Washington, state or county government and quickly settles into the same political "habits" as the bum we just got out of office.

As we near the final selection of the 2016 presidential nominees, ordinary Americans which I see myself as, are betwixt and between – some are downright thrilled Donald Trump has brought the nominating process out of the "smoke-filled back rooms," but most readily admit they are less than thrilled and concerned about just what type of president Trump would make. Trump was quoted as say, I'll be so Presidential, they'll be bored."Well, we can hope, and that someone can talk him into a new hair stylist!

And now for that second take on Greed in America. 


The Declaration of Independence cites certain truths the "founding fathers" believed were self-evident:  "[T]hat all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." As a reader commented about an earlier column by this writer on the U.S. Constitution, the "all men" of the declaration did not include the Indians, blacks and working class people from other countries.  

As a reminder, Article XIV of the U.S. Constitution, Section 1, defines citizenship. "Citizenship defined

– privileges of citizens. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States, nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty or property without due process of law, nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

The long road traveled by America since the Declaration of Independence has not been a pretty one when equality for human beings is scrutinized. As recognized in last week's edition, the class system established for human beings during the founding of America prevails to this day, perhaps only a little less blatant. Those wishing to be politically correct portray themselves as saviors of the people all too often.

Republicans pride themselves as the champions of business, smaller government, less regulation and freedom of choice. Not much has changed since the heyday of the laissez-faire period of America (1860s-1920s) when bigger was better as demonstrated by such symbols as the Titanic. Was such a monstrous ship necessary or needed at the time? The answer of course is a resounding no. The Titanic was a consequence of out-of-control wealthy "robber barons" obsessed with outdoing other wealthy "robber barons – those who would come to America to expand their fortunes on the backs of the lower class people. Ever wonder about the working conditions in the shipyard that built the Titanic (it was built in 1908-1909)? 

While expansion was necessary if the country was to develop, the path taken in America was one of little or no government interference regarding individual action. Wealthy industrialists used their wealth to wield power over all – workers and local government officials – in the zeal of furthering the economy, regardless of the cost to human beings and the environment. 

The Great Lakes and rivers of America were turned into garbage dumps and dead waterways by industrial plants whose owners saved millions by avoiding safe disposal of toxic waste. Such practices meant astronomical profits for wealthy industrialists at the time, with taxpayers to this day footing the bill for such rape of the environment.

As in the early days of developing America, business totally unrestrained by regulation does not conduct itself in a responsible way protecting its workers and the environment. Standard practice in present-day America is to get away with as many money-saving, cost cutting tactics as it can, just as business was conducted in early-day America (1860s-1920s). Those days, corporations did not have zillions of lawyers working on a daily basis to find a way around or justification to legally ignore regulations meant to safe guard human life and the environment. 

Ever wonder where the term "acceptable levels" found in so many regulations has its basis? In early August, Chatfield Reservoir, a very popular summer playground for those fond of the water (located south of Denver, Colorado), was closed due to contamination from e-coli bacteria. The headline announcing that Chatfield would reopen read "e-coli dropped to acceptable levels." Federal food regulations always contain the "acceptable level" for contamination whether attributed to rodent droppings and hair or carcinogens that cause cancer and other diseases.

Does it need to be pointed out who benefits most from the lax regulations? Certainly not the ordinary citizen!

Today's Republicans and yes, those chest-pounding Libertarians and Tea Partyers, have forgotten what today's espoused rhetoric meant when it was the standard operating practice in the laissez-faire period of developing America. Those sweat-shop days of unregulated dangerous working conditions are buried in all the greed-driven zeal that corporations only create jobs in an atmosphere free of government interference.

While freedom is one of the two basic values of democracy (equality being the other), freedom misused is no different than freedom denied or less heinous. Working conditions in early-day America were possible because workers had no choice but to take those jobs to survive and feed their families. Is that really freedom? Wealthy industrialists took advantage of those less fortunate in all ways possible to guarantee the biggest profits and expansion of the developing country. 

Some day soon, ask a Republican/Libertarian for a detailed explanation of just how their idea of freedom differs from the laissez-faire days of the 1860s-1920s. Guaranteed, you will not like the answer, that is if you get one!

The reader's comments or questions are always welcome. E-mail me at