One nation, under God, indivisible, yet dividedPublished 10:18am Wednesday, January 9, 2013
by William A. Scott
This is a rebuff to Robert N. “Bob” Holt’s Your Turn column (“Has our nation evolved into two Americas,” Jan. 4)
Our nation has always been divided into two Americas. And as such, we begin each year in division.
We have the “givers” and the “takers” continuing to do what we Americans have always been doing: speaking, acting and justifying division.
Let’s look at the definitions to reframe our discussion.
The “givers” are relatively fortunate — they work, take care of their families, support schools, value education, behave themselves, pay taxes and so forth. The “givers” seem, according to our guest columnist, to be provided with unchecked opportunity to succeed in America.
Their pursuit of happiness, as spelled out in our Constitution, has not been hindered with near insurmountable impediments. In short, the “givers” are the privileged class whose citizenship has never been doubted.
There is opportunity to satisfy all of their needs — employment is not a major problem, acquiring adequate health, food and shelter is not a major problem, and educational facilities plus staff and faculty is not a major problem. Under these circumstances volunteering in support of above activities and assisting others to gain the same is a usual result; I’d dare say an expected duty of “givers.”
The “givers” are, according to Holt’s column, viewed as full class superior mind-set citizens with all the rights and privileges and “entitlements” guaranteed by our constitution, our traditions, our patriotism, our nationalism — to the “givers,” any view to the contrary is inferior as suggestive with the “takers.” The “givers” have evolved into first-class opinionated citizens I call “the privileged.”
The “takers” is that other half of America who have historically been viewed, according to Holt’s article, as full-class inferior “denizens” (denizens are residents, or dwellers, or tenants, or occupants, occupiers allowed to live and stay in American without ever gaining or being declared citizens) with few rights and privileges and yes even entitlements that ought to have been guaranteed by our Constitution, our traditions, our patriotism, our nationalism.
They function on the peripheral of society, on the margins always struggling to survive, always fighting against the label of “denizens” yet never being viewed as full-class citizens.
There is scant opportunity to satisfy all of their needs — employment is a major problem, acquiring adequate health, food and shelter is a major problem, and educational facilities plus staff and faculty are a major problem.
Under these circumstances, volunteering in support of above activities is a lesser priority and assisting others to gain the same as the “givers” is always fraught with suspicion and skepticism.
Social equality or enfranchisement has never been completely realized; I’d even dare to say they never were endowed with the rights of citizenship, hence “denizenship-lessness.” The result has been that “takers” have evolved into second-class citizens I call “the underprivileged.”
But to suggest that the “takers,” or my refraining of the term, the underprivileged, constitute nearly 50 percent of Americas’ population who don’t work, are on food stamps, on Medicaid, and other government assistance programs continues to perpetuate the divide that exist in this country.
I do agree with your analysis that we do have “takers,” but the percentage is far less than nearly 50 percent. And the “takers” come in both the privileged and underprivileged classes.
You have wittingly linked criminals, scoffers, sluggards and even sociopaths to the underprivileged you call “takers.” That’s an unfortunate and unmerited characterization of that class of people.
The “you owe me” philosophy coming from those watching movies on their big screen TV or playing video games or hanging around on street corners or strolling with a swagger half-dressed constitutes a small percentage, perhaps less that 10 percent of the underprivileged. (And I dare say that that lifestyle along with that percentage has crossed over to the privileged.)
To your readership, you have again wittingly stereotyped that half of America as the cause of our financial woes — I wholeheartedly disagree with that assessment. However, with that said, I wholeheartedly agree that we are in a drastic situation and that the way out of this situation may be to overhaul the income tax code so that our indivisible yet divided America can advance leaving behind those attitudes that keep us divided.
William A. Scott is retired from the National Security Agency of the Department of Defense and has served as a biblical instructor with the Washington Bible College/Capital Bible Seminary and Executive Director and Academic Dean of Triangle Bible Institute. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org