The American Thing to Do


robert-M.-Scott – By Robert Scott –

One of the many political email lists I seem to find myself on these days is written by Robert Reich, the former Labor Secretary under Bill Clinton and current Professor of Public Policy at the University of California. I don’t always agree with Dr. Reich, but occasionally he seems to have it just right. A recent Facebook posting of his is in that latter category, and I’ll paraphrase it.

The real dividing line in America today, according to Professor Reich, isn’t between conservatives and liberals or between Democrats and Republicans. It’s between the haters and the big-hearted. The haters direct themselves at child refugees seeking asylum from the Central American drug wars. Meanwhile, many of them – and of us – worship a child whose parents grabbed him up and fled from violence in the country of their birth, but we seem to forget that. The haters find reasons to single out monogamous gays who want to marry, African-Americans who want to vote and exercise their other rights of citizenship, women who seek the right to make their own decisions, or even women in general. They strongly distrust the motives of Latinos (citizens or not) who want their children to be taught in Spanish, immigrants in general, Muslims, Jews, and people who are perceived to be different in any way whatsoever from “real Americans.”

They don’t like government bureaucrats, look down at the poor and needy (without thinking too deeply about the moral imperatives taught in Sunday School), and question the patriotism of anyone who dares suggest a required background check before buying guns, all of the recent shooting tragedies notwithstanding. They consider the majority of the citizenry of states outside of South Carolina to be un-American: people they call “liberals” or “socialists” or “communists,” even the President of the United States, and likely the last two or three of his predecessors from both parties.

But the haters are not America. They are a small and vocal minority. They have lost track of who we as Americans really are, and what are our most profound ideals: a belief in opportunity, of justice, and of compassion as well as a sense of fairness. They have forgotten that in a democracy, the majority does not need protection from the tyranny of a minority nearly as often as the minority needs protection from the tyranny of the majority – and that, in a nutshell, is why we even have a Bill of Rights, not to mention most of the subsequent Constitutional Amendments.

Most Americans are generous and welcoming, decent and kind-hearted. To borrow a well-worn phrase from the Reagan era, most of us are, indeed, the silent majority. We believe in the ideals of a caring America, the value of new ideas, of the profound need to follow those inner spiritual voices who ask us to comfort the afflicted even if it occasionally means we need to afflict the comfortable. We welcome those who are different from ourselves as the advocates of that change and growth without which we as a society would stagnate. Perhaps the real problem is that the silent majority has once again been silent too long. Perhaps it is time to reach out to the different, to the “other,” to the needy, and to those who have few friends, and to become their champions. It’s the American thing to do.

The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The Edgefield Advertiser.
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One Response to "The American Thing to Do"

  1. Edgefield Advertiser   July 31, 2014 at 1:10 pm

    Editor Edgefield Advertiser,

    I live just South of The District of Columbia and happily receive your paper each week. It brings back many great memories and allows me the opportunity to keep a relationship with my Home. In the Wednesday July 23 Edition of your paper, I read Mr. Robert Scott’s editorial “The American Thing To Do”. Eloquent. Well written. To the Point. Mr. Scott believes that he has a big heart and I am a hater since I do not believe in illegal immigration. If that is his description, so be it. America is a nation of laws and immigrants. I am sorry that we cannot save everyone, but no country has done as much good for the world as the United States of America. But, America cannot be the home of everyone. We can help others improve their own countries but “this American lifeboat” needs to stay afloat. We cannot do that if we continue to open our borders to anyone in an uncontrolled manner. Central American jails are being emptied and pushed North. MS 13 is mingling with the hordes of ‘innocent children’ that are being driven to America to be exploited by the drug cartels. Greater than 20% of the illegal dreamers are young men with combat experience from Africa, Eastern Euopre and the Middle East. No Mr. Scott, this is not a surge of innocent children being thrown onto a bus. The Idealism that is discussed in Mr. Scott’s editorial is a grand luxury when one has the strength to support it and currently, we do not have that strength since our economic, military and moral strength has been decimated by our current all-encompassing welfare state.

    In his opinion piece, he expands his view of my hatred into voting rights, 2nd amendment, womens rights (aka abortion) and Patriotism. A few things to consider in this wide flung net of conflicting points. First, never hide behind religion to argue. He alludes to Jesus Christ and his feeding of the masses. Yes, the bible did tell us that Jesus did feed the masses. I am sorry but I will teach them to fish themselves and stay out of my dining room unless I invite you. By the way, never forget 2 Thessalonians 3:10 “For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.” He states that I hate gays who want to marry. Since I am in the majority of this nation today and it has taken the court to overturn the vote of the majority, I have to abide by the law concerning homosexual marriage. But, I do not have to embrace it.
    He discusses African American voting rights which I expect he believes that Identification is too difficult for someone to have. He wants background checks for guns. So, ID for the guns but no ID for the voters. Please be consistent. One cannot do anything in American legally without an appropriate Identification. I personally am more afraid of illegal voting that I am a person with a gun. He believes that the Haters, me, want to tell women what to do. Assume this is his argument for abortion. An abortion is a decision between a woman and God, but I should not be forced to pay for it with my tax dollars. But to get back on his general comment, bottomline, he must not know my Southern Steel Magnolia Mother. No one makes decisions or choices for her. She stands on her own. I have never known a real Southern Woman that was a wimp to allow someone else to direct her. So, in my world, women make their own decisions.

    Mr. Scott speaks with a view that classes should be conducted in a language of the choice of the student. My opinion, if one moves to America, learn English. You cannot learn the language if you hide in a self contained Spanish Language classroom. And by the way, DMV in Mexico does not offer translation services. At least the Mexican government and I agree on something. Learn the language where you live.

    I guess I am just a hater. He discusses the tyranny of the majority over the minority. But, what of the tyranny of a Government that robs me to pay for others. Taking my sweat and giving it to people that have no desire to better themselves. I help others through organizations of My Choice and my Church. The Federal Government is not chartered to be in the Sympathy business. It is there to stay out of hard working Americans way forward.

    Let us close with the subject of hatred since that is how I was described in the editorial. I have had the distasteful experience of seeing true hatred in South America, South East Asia, Africa, Yugoslavia and the Middle East. I am happy to know that few Americans have experienced true hatred. We will soon learn what hatred really is when we see our first Islamic beheading in America. During my life and next to me stood Americans of the Islamic faith, Americans of the Jewish faith, Americans of African descent, Americans from El Paso Texas with their first language being Spanish, and some Good Ole Boys from Edgefield County, all wearing the same uniform and standing for their Country. All of us knowing that we are one nation that has to survive for the betterment of humanity. And, that we went to some horrible places to help people “ right their own lifeboat.”

    Wayne O. Ouzts
    Colonel, USMCR Ret.