The Right to Live

…means being able to earn a living…

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights,–That among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.  That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…”

~Thomas Jefferson, The Declaration of Independence, 04 July 1776

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It’s an interesting thing to live in a country built on the fundamental value of freedom for all.  A country where everyone is supposed to be free to choose, free to succeed, free to thrive.  And yet, many do not.  Many cannot.  Because there are those who become even more rich off the backs of those who are poor.  One would think that in a prosperous, democratic nation where the people are supposed to be foremost in the thought of those who govern that passing a bill establishing a LIVING WAGE for a fair day’s work would be easy.  Interestingly enough, its just the opposite in this nation.  In this nation, businesses and various politicians prevent such a law from ever being put on the books.  Because it’s much more important that one CEO has a million more dollars than for thousands of workers to be able to afford food and housing.

Our businesses continue to enshrine the idea of a capitalist economy.  Yet the founders never intended our nation to be based or built on any certain type of economy at all.  Really, quite the opposite.  Different founding fathers had vastly differing opinions on economic matters, both as they pertained to their own personal finances and to the nation as a whole.  The sentiment that pervaded all of their thoughts however, was not that businesses should rule the nation or be important to deciding government policy, but that IN EVERY INSTANCE, the people, the citizenry as a whole should be the priority.  It’s difficult to see how the people are the priority when the people can’t even get a law passed that gives them a wage they can actually live on.  Maybe our current legislators actually believe their constituents don’t want a minimum wage which means they can afford life, liberty, and to pursue a little happiness.  Or maybe our current legislators are cowards who are so indebted to the many big businesses that fund election campaigns that they can no longer stand up for what’s right.  Either way, a nation where one has the right to pursue happiness but where one is unable to ever do so, is not a land of the just and free.

Res Publica

Documentation without Representation:

Thomas Jefferson, The Declaration of Independence, 04 July 1776

http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/declaration_transcript.html

Electronic Text Courtesy of The National Archives of the United States of America

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