Letter: Don’t expect Congress to do what the people will not
Sometime ago, I encountered what I thought was a significant admission in one of the newsletters that I read. In a question-and-answer column, the question was posed to the author of the letter, "Can we affect change by writing to our Congressman?" The author of the newsletter answered the inquiry by emphasizing the necessity to take steps to prepare one’s home and family for what is to come. The newsletter author never did address the question regarding the writing to members of Congress.
I thought this omission spoke loudly to a simple fact that I recognized years ago. We cannot expect Congress to do what the people will not do for themselves. Unfortunately, in our current society, the will to affect change—not the hope and change so lauded in a recent political campaign, but the change necessary to restore the American republic to its core Constitutional values.
Unfortunately, if any given topic does not first appear in The Washington Post, The New York Times or The Los Angeles Times, it is deemed not to exist.
How might we expect the government to react to the restoration of Constitutional values and law when the Bill of Rights itself is under siege by government edicts? NDAA, The Patriot Act, executive orders, just to name a few. Meanwhile, 50 million Americans are on food stamps. While 75 percent of those receiving food stamps perform at the lowest two levels of literacy, a corresponding 75 percent of all prison inmates are illiterate. Interestingly enough, about 50 percent of the population of Detroit is illiterate. Currently, the U.S. is ranked 14 out of 34 countries for reading skills. U.S. Department of Education numbers indicate that 32 million Americans lack prose literacy, which is defined to mean the ability to read a newspaper or the instructions on a bottle of medicine. Perhaps the newsletter author simply recognized the fact that America lacked a sufficient number of literate people within the population to affect the change?
With many in the job market unable to find work, with those in the entry-level jobs, fast-food employees in particular, striking for a doubling of income, how might the higher pay bear upon the viability of fast food itself? Many appear to be seeking sympathy of the public to ease their plight; meanwhile, as noted by Jack London, "I have never seen a wild thing feel truly sorry for itself."
What lessons might we draw from the decline of freedom and the loss of Constitutional authority and the Bill of Rights with the declining literacy and the seeming despair so prevalent today? The current state of literacy and economic viability within the United States appears to be an equation in need of a solution.
The reference to a wild or natural-state creature in Jack London’s quote refers not to Darwinism, but to the struggle for existence which, unlike Darwinism, is a self-evident fact. While nature offers examples of strife as well as cooperation, nature is, as one might conclude, brutally honest. No such admonition can be expressed regarding our current state of public and government affairs. With such government scandals as NSA, IRS, Benghazi, perhaps it can be said that the government is brutally dishonest. Some have concluded that there is no way to reform the system. It is irreparably corrupt. Perhaps that too might have been a reason why the newsletter author did not respond to the question of affecting change by a written appeal to Congress.
Perhaps there might be a direct correlation between literacy, corruption and integrity in government. Might Detroit, with its 50 percent literacy rate, graft, corruption and collapse, be a warning or perhaps a harbinger?
As a people, we cannot expect Congress to do what the people will not do for themselves. The often-repeated term, low-information voter, might well be the most accurate admonition to emerge from the culture in decades. Once a statement is made, its truth becomes apparent.
Port Haywood, Va.