when i first read of the recording of presidential candidate mitt romney's fund-raiser speech mentioning the 47% of americans he said are government dependent, i was startled that a man who wants to be elected to our highest office would say such a thing. in a democracy, every person is government dependent, because the electorate is, in effect, the government. the government is simply a mechanism that allows all of us to pool our money paid to the government as taxes to accomplish larger goals that would be impossible for each of us as individuals. we are dependent on the government to build our roads and bridges, to defend our liberties, to insure the safety of our foods and medicines, to provide the social safety net that assists the unemployed, the elderly, the homeless, and the poor. we elect those who make the decisions about how much each person should pay in taxes and how that revenue will be spent. how, then, is the government some abstraction that has become our enemy in the view of mr. romney and many others?
when president obama said that no one in the u.s. succeeds on his or her own, he was correct. we all stand on the shoulders of others. i help build the transportation system that allows the owner of the manufacturing company to deliver the goods to market. i help pay for the police who safeguard the factory and the firefighters who put out the fire when the factory is burning. none of us is "self-made." countless others have played a role in each successful enterprise in this country, and we are all dependent on government to "promote the common good." our votes determine what that common good is and how it will be promoted.
how easy it is to forget how intertwined our lives are. as the world shrinks, we are more closely linked with each passing day. my prayer today is that each of us will remember how dependent we are on one another and that we will say a quiet word of gratitude for all those who are working with us to make this world a better place. shalom