Years ago I asked on Facebook, “What is the purpose of government?” Answers streamed back and I summarized answers not necessarily in order of numbers:
Protect weak from strong.
Assure a level playing field to all.
Create laws to govern acceptable behavior, not status.
Insure property and contract rights.
Make opportunity for those who want to participate in political and economic life.
Provide a safety net for those unable to care for themselves.
Share the cost of maintaining government function.
Empower individuals to flourish to his/her full capacity.
Protect individuals with Bill of Rights.
NYPD Officer Larry DePrimo represents the kind of law enforcement that responds to human need with care and compassion. Laws we write need to reflect just such values. From Executive, through the Legislature and Judicial, to states, to municipalities, to each citizen, a country worth pledging allegiance to and a flag worth saluting include these attributes.
If such rights do not exist in reality, the citizenry has the right and responsibility to rise up in protest and make their wishes known and considered. That is what United States of America is all about.
I don't understand your last sentence, Joan. The purpose of government should be like in your summary - in every country, and the problem is that it's nowhere like that. So what is the USA all about?
Chris, that is what I am trying to convey. USA was created on a new and radical concept of freedoms as spelled out in our Constitution and Bill of Rights. USA never has lived up to the principles so grandly pronounced, but at least we had a vision of the kind of government we wanted.
Peoples of other countries have read and learned about a preferred form of government they would like to have, and they, too, have the right and responsibility "to declare their causes which impel them to the separation."
The first step in any problem or conflict is to identify the problem that gets in the way of a preferred outcome. The second step is to imagine a preferred out come by spelling it out in clear language, what is preferred. That is what the Constitution attempted to do, even as it did not grant or want anyone to be a citizen unless the person was white and owned land. We have made changes in the Constitution to correct that vision. The Bill of Rights spelled out citizen rights specifically and concretely.
Because present reality does not fit the vision, it is the responsibility of the citizenry to stand up for those rights against the oligarchs.
"When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation."
~ Declaration of Independence
It's in your constitution, and quite rightly so, but I still see no difference with other places in the world. It's in my bones that everyone who is separated from his/her rights must declare his/her cause - even though nobody listens or the government uses repression. Perhaps it's because I don't think much of governments, countries or flags. I know Americans do; they are trained from an early age to worship the flag and it works too. Show me a picture of an American town and there are always enough flags to cover the pavement. It's different here; most people could mop the kitchen with the flag without thinking twice. Sorry if I'm too outspoken.
Chris, you speak perfectly and I want you to keep saying what you think. Incidentally, I agree with you and I think European history supports your statement. For example, I know that Belgium has been overrun by just about every power throughout European history, even before nations formed and I assume The Netherlands has a similar history.
There have also been tyrants in leadership and the notion of "divine right of kings" which USA does not have, theoretically. But in all practical terms, our governments have been contaminated by ghosts of spirits unseen and the present situation is untenable. A rising against religion and oligarchs has only just begun, not that anyone wants to deny another the right to worship as they choose, but that worship cannot be imposed on everyone.
The spirit of right to speak exists in us; I agree with your statement, "It's in my bones that everyone who is separated from his/her rights must declare his/her cause". There is a yearning in the human mind to take such a stand.
There is an element in USA history of the "rights of corporations" or "oligarchs" and our propaganda news sources support that element. Voters have the right to vote, but do not have the right to choose who is allowed to run for POTUS or public office. A non-christian has a very poor chance of even getting on our ballots. Socialism remains outlawed and blacklisted by the powers that be and the voting public does not make the connection and votes against their self-interests.
USA would be a better country if, as you say, "most people could mop the kitchen with the flag without thinking twice."