Democracy

“All of these rights spell security…”


FDR’s Economic Bill of Rights

It is our duty now to begin to lay the plans and determine the strategy for the winning of a lasting peace and the establishment of an American standard of living higher than ever before known. We cannot be content, no matter how high that general standard of living may be, if some fraction of our people—whether it be one-third or one-fifth or one-tenth—is ill-fed, ill-clothed, ill-housed, and insecure.

This Republic had its beginning, and grew to its present strength, under the protection of certain inalienable political rights—among them the right of free speech, free press, free worship, trial by jury, freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures. They were our rights to life and liberty.

As our nation has grown in size and stature, however—as our industrial economy expanded—these political rights proved inadequate to assure us equality in the pursuit of happiness.

We have come to a clear realization of the fact that true individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence. “Necessitous men are not free men.” People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made.

In our day these economic truths have become accepted as self-evident. We have accepted, so to speak, a second Bill of Rights under which a new basis of security and prosperity can be established for all—regardless of station, race, or creed.

Among these are:

The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the nation;

The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;

The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living;

The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad;

The right of every family to a decent home;

The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;

The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment;

The right to a good education.

All of these rights spell security. And after this war is won we must be prepared to move forward, in the implementation of these rights, to new goals of human happiness and well-being.

America’s own rightful place in the world depends in large part upon how fully these and similar rights have been carried into practice for our citizens.


The People’s Business

From Dave Smith

I admire our meeting-people… those who make democracy work by sitting in endless meetings and engaging in the process of finding common ground among diverse personalities and interests, and then making compromises and decisions that will not make everyone happy, but will make forward progress.

The give and take to find consensus or a majority; the standing firm on principle; the willingness to probe another’s reasons and compare it to one’s own… and then to painfully change one’s mind and accept another’s argument, or stand aside for the betterment of community. This is how progress is made in a democracy, and it requires patience, respect, discipline, civility, dignity, forbearance, and many, many hours of listening with attention and empathy… and when required, passionate defense of what is fair and right.

This is all in good working order and in full display at Ukiah City Council meetings. If only we could simply replace the County of Mendocino Board of Supervisors and County Staff with their counterparts in the City of Ukiah, the county might start working again.

With two new Supervisors coming on board, one can hope.


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