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The New Four Freedoms
Time to free ourselves from these scourges
The original Four Freedoms were set forth by FDR at a time of enormous upheaval in this country. We had just suffered through 10 years of economic collapse that he, FDR, could not extract us from and then suddenly we were attacked by another country without provocation. The nation was shaken, still very much in the throes of the Great Depression, and fearful that the malaise was never going to change.
Norman Rockwell was commissioned to paint his portraits to lift the spirit of the American public out of its collective depression. He produced remarkable works that both remind us of that time and embolden us to remain hopeful.
Unfortunately, we now have four different illnesses that afflict this country so deeply that they are hindering our growth as a nation and as a people. Freedom from Poverty, Homelessness, Depression and Racism are needed badly right now.
Poverty has now been declared a pandemic not just an endemic problem. This means it crosses boundary, culture, racial and socioeconomic lines. It has become so systemic as to affect generations and that produces a general drag on our economy as a whole. Entire cities are now losing economic power to its grip on their population. Our school systems are being overrun by its pernicious influence, and what little social safety net that we have is drowning under its weight.
We have tried every government program possible over the decades to resolve this issue and all have failed. They have all failed because aid programs dont incent those in poverty to exit poverty, only wages do that and corporate America has refused to accept complicity in that effort. By refusing to employ the impoverished and pay them a decent wage out of their corporate profits, the scourge continues. They force the government to continue the programs which are of course paid by the taxpayer. They should be paid by private corporations through employment.
Homelessness has become a massive eyesore not only visually on our city streets but collectively in our minds. We don't want to acknowledge it because it detracts from our national psyche as a great nation. It would mean we failed in some way. Affluent segments of society avoid the zones most affected by homelessness to avoid being infected by its metaphorical stench. Properties are defended at all costs to assure a modicum of safety for the property owners. That a homeless person might be in the neighborhood raises the cackles of all those in the neighborhood. That the common image of homelessness has now changed to include the middle class just makes the problem worse as no one knows how to deal with it. If these people were employed with decent wages, the economic powerhouse that is the Unitied States would expand exponentially.
Depression has turned from the disease du jour to a pandemic problem itself. The economic depression contributed to the problem but the mental health version has been there for decades. Anyone who develops the illness, even for a short time, loses social friends almost immedately. Depression is a form of social cancer because real cancer elicits sympathy even as friends shy away from the afflicted patient. Cancer can be attacked with pharmaceutical drugs and a person declared cancer free. It intrinsically feels that it is not contagious. Depression feels contagious so friends run from those afflicted when exactly the opposite is needed. However, it is not contagious and if we treated those with the condition as healthy people needing a friend or a jumpstart, we would all benefit from the result.
Racism has been a scourge since before the country started. We would not have built this country without racism because we could not have built it without slavery. Therefore, in our collective national subconscious lies a troubling thought that we have our superpower status largely because of the heinous crime of slavery that we committed to multiple races and ethnic groups. African Americans were subjected to the worst simply because they were so easily idenfied. The subjugation of human beings that was needed to build the country transformed the human beings into a subclass of human promulgated by multiple nonsense racial theories and thus endemic racism was born. Even with our first African-American President, this scourge carries on its genes to the next generation. As Lincoln emancipated the slaves to provide more power to his Union Army, eliminating racism by treating blacks the same as ourselves would improve neighborhoods nearly overnight and the economic benefits of cleaner housing zones, healthier people and more productive workers because they were being respected instead of denigrated would magnify this country's production significantly. We would blow China out of the water.
Thus, it is time we corrected these ills and declared our freedom from poverty, homelessness, depression and racism.