D.J. Diebold, in his weekly letter last Friday, begins with a pithy observance, that "the measure of an enlightened society is how they care for the less fortunate and the most vulnerable." He then gets off-track and starts to rant about the state government and his topic for the week.
Mr. Diebold, you must remember that society is not government, but government is a part of society. If you look at the fruits of our society, you can only conclude that we are a very enlightened people. What other nation has had the success of the "great democratic experiment," and then put forth such an effort to help other societies win through to a democratic form of government?
What other country has allow dissidents and minorities to have a voice in the public forum (many times, allowing an influence greater that their numbers may justify)? Who else has given of their personal means to benefit their fellow countrymen and citizens the world over when there are natural disasters? What other people has given billions of dollars to rebuild the infrastructure of countries, after having toppled dictators who would not allow their subjects to enjoy the benefits of peace and personal safety?
All this has been done by our society. We have enabled our government, through our elected officials, to use our resources to do such. These officials are only as powerful as the voice of the people allow them to be.
Presently, the voice of the people says that we cannot spend more than we receive. Yes, tax revenues are down because property values are down, and taxable transactions are less. So, just as you would do in your household budget, the Arizona legislature is revising the budget priorities. It is painful and frustrating to have to disappoint those expecting the largesse of unemployment benefits, but there is no largesse to distribute. The "unemployment tax" that employers have paid into for these many years was only enough to help during normal economic cycles. We are not presently in a normal economic state.
Our legislature is setting a wonderful example for us. You and I, whether employed or not, must only decide whether the expense of a personal cell phone or cable service is necessary. Theirs is a more difficult task, and I am grateful that our representatives are "manning up" to their chosen responsibilities.
If there is anything "cold, harsh", it is your condemnation of these leaders who are shouldering the burden of proper governance. If you are so concerned about those unfortunates that have not worked for over a year, please encourage them to be active in good public works and volunteerism, so they can broaden their experience and show that they are not victims. Who knows? They may create a new employment situation for themselves!
Patrick Shepherd, Gilbert