Saturday, March 18, 2017

The general welfare

I will be honest. It’s a weekend and today I have been resting because I was up late last night, watching a performance of Sweeney Todd.

While I’ve just been sitting around the house, doing laundry, but not much else, I’ve been trying to think of what I should write about today.

There is something pressing on my mind, lately, and, while I don’t want to get overtly political, I just want to dedicate this post to the Preamble to the Constitution:
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

So, you may notice that this statement basically sets up the purpose of the Constitution of the United States. If we consider the founding fathers’ motives in setting up our government important when interpreting it, then I suggest looking at the statements following “in Order to form a more perfect Union”, which are:

  1. Establish Justice - set up the system of laws
  2. Insure domestic Tranquility - keep things peaceful, see #1
  3. Provide for the common defence - defend citizens through organized fores
  4. Promote the general Welfare - work for the well-being of citizens
  5. Secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity - ensure that our country and laws continue in years to come (could consider the Bill of Rights to have done this)

With that out of the way, lately, I keep hearing “promote the General Welfare” in my head when I watch the news. I’m discouraged by the political discourse which conveniently ignores this purpose of government, and, instead, apparently values #3 above all. Our nation spends significantly more money on defense than any other nation, and the most recent budget proposal increases the spending, while basically reducing funding to all parts of the government that do #4.

I contend that if we do more for #4 - continue to regulate the environment, work with our allies through the state department diplomacy, fund public education, fund health care, fund research, fund MEALS ON WHEELS for Pete’s sake! - we will do more for the “Insure domestic Tranquility” (#2 above) than any amount of defense spending could do.

I understand the budget would have to be approved by Congress as is for these cuts to happen, but I felt the need to use my post for today to promote the General Welfare clause, and encourage others to consider that one of the roles of government is to provide programs that help the poor, raise people up, provide education, promote scientific research, and generally ensure that our citizens are not left to suffer. I am so disheartened that those running the country could so easily turn their back on fellow Americans.
Some additional reading on the topics:


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