Free society does not equal level playing field
Re: Column, “Racism has no place in politics,” Nov. 22
We are a nation firmly bound in socioeconomic striation. Its members could claim to be born free and equal, but if we stop to take in our surroundings nothing is further from the truth. Almost 25 percent of blacks fall below the poverty line — nearly double the national rate (Census Bureau, 2003). How can anyone claim that two men, even with identical abilities, are of equal footing when one is impoverished and the other affluent?
So, Fowler’s depiction of the government as a “nanny state” holds undue and unjust connotations. Is not the government sworn servant and protector of its people? It is not weakness for a nation to offer succor to those in want, nor is it weakness to accept that aid?
In the end egocentric behavior is detrimental to all parties concerned. Nations with a gaping disparity between rich and poor, those with a thinning middle class, are the very same nations dubbed “third world.” They are the very same nations without public services and paved roads.
Somewhere along the way, America got stuck on the myth of rags-to-riches. As a country we are enthralled by it, but for every tale of success, thousands of failure and depravity go untold. What then? Should those who struggle and scrap surrender? Concede to a long- ago-destined role? No. They should trust in their leaders to be the architects of their dreams. They should have faith that their government is granting them every opportunity to advance.
Claiming that certain successes are somehow cheapened by financial aid is well past ludicrous. It’s a breakdown in the fundamental understanding of economic subsistence.
The author must inhabit some sort of fantastic, fictional mindset. Regardless of what he may believe, going to school takes money. Living takes money. Success takes money. Raw ability moves most people only so far, but for the vast and remaining majority, that extra “nudge” is vital in catalyzing vertical movement.
The truth is, we reside in a static caste system where cash is king. The playing field is by no means level, yet the very foundation of this nation was built on the precepts of equality. Is it not our moral duty to rectify this paradox?
Joshua Knipp is a junior majoring in psychology.