Random Thoughts on MLK Day

I’ve just realized I haven’t posted anything here lately. Surely nobody has noticed. Oh well. I will take this opportunity to toss out a couple of musings on my last day off work for a few weeks. Tomorrow I’ll be at our Cincinnati home office, Wednesday at our Fairfield hospital, and the next two days in our Scranton region before weekend clinicals in Lima, etc.

Today we celebrate the memory of a truly great American, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. His legacy means many things for many people. For me it means this: a powerful vision where each and every person is able to reach his or her own full potential, without being hindered by institutional barriers. King called black people — and all Americans — to reach for real equality of opportunity, so as to allow each individual to achieve great things. Remember that back in the 1960’s, there were plenty of those barriers in both public and private sectors. Dr. King’s eloquent words and heroic actions helped turn the tide and enable that vision.

What has gone wrong since then? Plenty, surely, but just one example. Many governmental actions, executed by both Republicrats and Demopublicans, have done something very different from leveling the playing field. Many times, the results of such programs, such as the “War on Poverty,” have served to increase dependence of minority groups on the federal dole. Now how in blazes does the welfare state help people rise up as individuals and become successful and prosperous?

Much of the current political agenda in Washington aims to serve up more of the same. I dare say Dr. King would be skeptical.

I must add a thought on the heart-rending situation in Haiti. There is irony here, and perhaps a lesson to be learned. Rulers of the island nation — emphasizing rulers, because for many years the government there has been run by dictatorship or military rule, rather than with the people having a voice — have utterly destroyed its economy, deforested the land, and in general plundered the country to such a degree that most of its nine million residents are among the hemisphere’s poorest. This is despite annual gifts of foreign aid from the US, and religious and other aid efforts. Haiti’s way has emphatically not worked.

We in the USA are indeed blessed to be able to assist so mightily in the earthquake’s aftermath, but that position is not due to good fortune. It comes in large part from the ability of individual Americans to thrive, prosper, and succeed. This has created the capital that permits us to share it generously with the earthquake victims. I hope that everyone who is able contributes to the aid effort, because it’s the right thing — and the American thing — to do. That said, until the people of Haiti become empowered to govern their country without the dictators and socialists in charge, it’s quite likely this scenario will replay when the next natural disaster strikes it.

And, if our current slide to socialism continues at the alarming rate we have seen in the last year — much faster than we have seen since the so-called “Progressives” first started deconstructing our constitutional republic a century ago — maybe someday we won’t be able to help Haiti, because we’ll be as poor as they are.

Thoughts and prayers are with the people of Haiti, and I’m hoping that soon their Dr. King will emerge.


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