Cornerstones of Democracy

Feeling cynical tonight. Dissatisfied. And maybe culpable in that dissatisfaction by virtue of my ignorance on the subjects of history, politics and government. 

Surely a literate person in this generation is ignorant only by choice.

So borrowed some books.

And learned several interesting tidbits in the process: Jefferson was the "founding father" if you will, of the Democratic party, and Abraham Lincoln of the Republican party.

Yes, I honestly didn't know that.

Those two facts might feel more significant after I figure out exactly what those respective parties consist of–both what they purport to be, and what they actually are.

The other thing, which seems more significant on some level I can't identify yet, I found on the inside cover of a textbook first published in 1951. 

There's a depiction of the four cornerstones of democracy: freedom of expression, freedom of religion, freedom from fear, and freedom from want.

I think as a nation we've pretty much honored the first two. But I'm curious to know–you who live in America, and any other nation who purports to be democratic. Are you free from fear? Are you free from want? Is our government still sitting solidly on four corners, or have a few of them started to crumble? I don't know.

Certainly, we all worry about finances and the weather and maybe even the stock market. But Want. Fear. How do you define those, exactly? Do they exist in our country today? I have been so blessed, so much of my life, that I have never known either true deprivation or terror.

I am inclined to suspect that while Congress may grant freedom of religion and expression, freedom from want and fear might be rooted in the individual–choosing faith over fear, and gratitude over want.  

And yet.

I have this niggling feeling that there are people out there who don't have that choice, even here in America.

What think you, fellow citizens?

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2 responses to “Cornerstones of Democracy

  • Flamingo Dancer

    To me fear is being afraid to walk outside your house, or fearing being killed inside your house. I do not have that concern.
    To me want is not having my basic needs met – shelter, food etc. I have that.
    So I guess I am free from fear and want, not that I don't have fears, but they are relative to my own situation.
    I have to agree with you though, that far too many people do suffer horrific deprivation and terror, and there is no real reason that they should. We, the human race, are causing it to happen. We can stop it.

  • Lightfoot Letters

    Additional thoughts: the Democrat Party has nothing in common with Thomas Jefferson. That should cause some fear. The Republican Party has very little in common with the Republican Party of Abraham Lincoln. That should cause some additional fear. The fact that, in practice, there is no difference between the current Democrat Party and the Republican Party might also be a cause for concern and a little added fear. So much for one cornerstone. And, we the United States of America are not the caretakers of the world, That should cause the fear factor and freedom from want to be much lower.

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