By Blaney Pridgen

All writers in Op Ed are here to inform and acknowledge issues of importance to our communities, however these writings represent the views and opinions of the authors and not necessarily of The Advertiser.

What is reasonable and what is not?  I think about that a lot.  For example, what’s it going to be:  capitalism or socialism?  I like them both; after all I receive a pension which was and is fueled by capitalism and I receive Social Security and Medicare, both hardcore socialism.  Capitalism makes things grow, often for the better, but it needs to be regulated and fairly taxed for the good of all.  This is especially true for the easily exploited worker and the easily destroyed environment.  Socialism stabilizes things, often for the better too, but it should not de-stable entrepreneurism and make the lazy lazier.  It is reasonable to remember that at least a simple majority of our citizens profit only indirectly from capitalism.  Shouldn’t the top twenty percent earners and successful corporations with millionaire CEO’s and dividend collecting public owners underwrite necessary services for the other eighty percent and small privately held businesses?  And shouldn’t we get rid of tricky tax laws that hide wealth and favor corporations?  Perhaps some should make a little less through taxation in order to insure a reasonable culture for workers and the wealthy alike, through the good aspects of socialism.  The engines of relatively free enterprise need a stable society if they intend to grow wealth over the long term.  Seems reasonable to me.  If we intend to continue great (and humane) nation status, we need efficient and affordable healthcare and education.  We need dependable infrastructures and a sensible defense.  We need genuine, livable wages for hard workers and humane services for those who truly cannot help themselves.  These are needs, not luxuries, for a great nation, especially a great democracy.  A farmer cannot grow a great crop without tilling and fertilizing the soil.  Seems reasonable to me.

What is reasonable and what is not?  Does freedom of speech allow freedom to foment insurrection and stir up vulnerable folk with mass delusions and fantasies?  Does the second amendment mean that everyone has the right to own automatic weapons designed solely to kill a lot of people quickly and efficiently?  Are we truly a free people who believe in religious expression if we legislate religious convictions about what any one person can do with their body aside from doing harm to another someone with an address and social security number?  And it’s a small thing, I realize, but could we possibly enforce littering laws as well as we enforce traffic laws?  There’s some unreasonableness going on in our land.

I believe we can come up with reasonable thoughts without immediately knowing how to implement them in a creative way.  Afterall, it is all too easy to do the right thing in the wrong way.  That shouldn’t stop us from asking what is reasonable and what is not.  Is it reasonable that political power can determine voting districts and voting regulations to thwart democracy?  Is it reasonable that states’ rights can prevent the common good or at least make the common good very difficult to achieve?  Consider this pandemic.  Considering unlimited terms, the filibuster, and the campaign financing, is it just for a minority to hand tame the majority?  Why is it almost impossible to amend our Constitution when it was designed to be amendable?  I have no immediate answers here, only a good question: What is reasonable and what is not?

I can only say one thing with firmest conviction about all of this:  Both of our political parties are given to unreasonableness.  I hear what they are saying, and I believe in their right to say it, but that is unreasonable and perhaps their precious constituencies are a bit unreasonable too.  By the way, constituencies have a way of being self-serving minorities.  Unfortunately, that is reasonable!