Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Four Great Questions Defining the American Dream

Speaking last night at the Democratic National Convention in Denver, former Iowa Congressman Jim Leach outlined four great questions that define the American Dream:

(1) Whether a country could be established based on The Rights of Man - Thomas Jefferson

(2) Whether The Rights of Man applied to individuals who were neither pale nor male - Abraham Lincoln.

(3) Whether rights are fully meaningful if all citizens are not given a chance to succeed and provide for their families, the question of opportunity - Franklin Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan.

(4) Whether any rights are possible without peace and environmental security, which acquired grim relevance with the dawn of the nuclear age.

Leach suggests the fourth question is the question for our time, and put forth Barack Obama as the progressive leader who may answer it. But he also forcefully rejected his own Republican Party of today:

"The party that once emphasized individual rights has gravitated in recent years toward regulating values. The party of military responsibility has taken us to war with a country that did not attack us. The party that formerly led the world in arms control has moved to undercut treaties crucial to the defense of the earth. The party that prides itself on conservation has abdicated its responsibilities in the face of global warming. And the party historically anchored in fiscal restraint has nearly doubled the national debt, squandering our precious resources in an undisciplined and unprecedented effort to finance a war with tax cuts."

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