Fear tactics only serve to divide | AspenTimes.com

Fear tactics only serve to divide

Dear Editor:

Melanie Sturm, certainly you are aware that when the president said “you didn’t build that,” he was referring to his prior sentence discussing roads and bridges, not dissing the hard work of entrepreneurs (Melanie Sturm, “The welfare state – you didn’t build that,” Aug. 2, 2012, The Aspen Times). Disseminating coordinated deception is despicable and will ultimately fail.

And it’s time for you to think again, as the biggest problem facing us is not welfare, but the propagation of arguments that aim to instill fear in order to coerce. With more than 300 million people in our country, we are well past the point of needing to dismantle government and hire private armies to protect us from the backlash of the disenfranchised, less fortunate and less able.

Certainly there are those who see no other way to survive than to get handouts from others, but the object of civilized society is to provide a platform for everyone to contribute and to foster a sense of community and thus minimize freeloading. It is natural that individuals will not only care for and about their family and loved ones, but also the general population when they view life with reverence and joy. The costs of protection, health care, infrastructure, education and caretaking of our lands can be easily paid for by the amount of work produced by our nation.

This doesn’t mean that everyone gets lives in a McMansion, or that public service needn’t be a part of welfare. It does mean everyone needs to be respected as equally human, with their limitations, disabilities, or special talents and fortunate socioeconomic upbringing, all working toward personal growth and public benefit.

Our country is now in a position that where so many resources have been squandered that many are afraid and unwilling to make the required sacrifices to invest in ourselves for the long term, for the greater good. In World War II the populace agreed to fund the war by foregoing money and resources to the effort. Two generations later this ethic is missing, but the differential between the haves and the have-nots is wider than ever. The many can’t afford it and the few don’t want to pay.

In order to reverse this trend, it is time to stop trying to lead by instilling fear, and start to appeal to folks’ innate sense of right and wrong, and to connect people in meaningful ways. Think again Melanie, and use your considerable talents for good.

John Bender


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