COMMENTARY: In the face of overwhelming division, corruption, propaganda and incompetence it is imperative that men and women of honor step forward to serve their community, state and country. Fareed Zacharia’s recent documentary “Why Trump Won” inspired me to write a commentary not on why Trump won, but on what we need to do to save our democracy.
We are in this together. To paraphrase John F. Kennedy, our problems are man-made and can be solved by man.
We need honorable people to step forward to run for office or support those people who truly are ready serve the people and not themselves. I have stepped forward to run for lieutenant governor of New Mexico as such a candidate.
According to Fareed we are divided in four areas: capitalism, culture, class and communication. I will give you my take on all four.
Our country has always had a mixed economy. The closest we ever came to pure capitalism was in Colonial America, and even then it was mixed. We started to lose our way at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution when businesses began to grow and had the goal of extinguishing competition to maximize profits regardless of the harm it enacted on this country. We have seen that in an economy where only the top one half of one percent have relegated our economy to an oligarchy whose only goal is maximizing profits without regard to their country or its people.
We must look to the future in New Mexico and not be held back by the past. We must keep our minds open to all possibilities and focus on giving small businesses the breaks we give to big companies. These small-business owners live and breathe amongst us and most care about their community.
For a start, let’s invest in early childhood education, renewable energy and infrastructure. Let’s legalize hemp and cannabis and diversify our revenue sources before it is too late.
Xenophobia has always been with us, from the time our ancestors warned their children of strangers thousands of years ago. It is natural to be afraid of the unfamiliar and it is even useful for our safety at times.
However, we must not succumb to propaganda or fake news that plays to our fears. We are a nation of immigrants, and if we are to survive we must remain so. By fully funding education and validating the teaching of citizenship, history, economics and government again we can teach our children to fear ignorance more than strangers.
We have some common cultural beliefs in this country that should be the basis of what it means to be an American citizen. They are espoused in our Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution, including our Bill of Rights.
It is said that opposites attract. We haven’t seen much of that lately, but I for one would find it incredibly dull to live in a homogeneous society where everyone talked, dressed, believed and looked alike. Let’s celebrate our diversity and not fear it.
I have always believed that I am no better or worse than any of my fellow humans. We must maintain as classless a society as we possibly can, because this was born of blood in our American Revolution. We must strive together to succeed individually and as a community, state and country.
One person’s success should not mean the failure of another. I will continue to strive to be in that place of honor. Will you join me?
Jeff Carr lives in Eagle Nest with his wife, and they are both teachers. He has taught history for 27 years and a is member of the state’s Public Education Commission. A Democrat, Carr is running for lieutenant governor in 2018. Agree with his opinion? Disagree? We welcome your views. Learn about submitting your own commentary here.