When the time comes, and I hope it comes soon, to bury this era of moral rot and the defiling of our communal, social, and democratic norms, the perfect epitaph for the gravestone of this age of unreason should be Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley’s already infamous quote:
‘I think not having the estate tax recognizes the people that are investing… as opposed to those that are just spending every darn penny they have, whether it’s on booze or women or movies.’
Grassley’s vision of America, quite frankly, is one I do not recognize. I thought the heart of this great nation was not limited to the ranks of the plutocrats who are whisked through life in chauffeured cars and private jets, whose often inherited riches are passed along to children, many of whom no sacrifice or service is asked. I do not begrudge wealth, but it must come with a humility that money never is completely free of luck. And more importantly, wealth can never be a measure of worth.
I have seen the waitress working the overnight shift at a diner to give her children a better life, and yes maybe even take them to a movie once in awhile – and in her, I see America.
I have seen the public school teachers spending extra time with students who need help and who get no extra pay for their efforts, and in them I see America.
I have seen parents sitting around kitchen tables with stacks of pressing bills and wondering if they can afford a Christmas gift for their children, and in them I see America.
I have seen the young diplomat in a distant foreign capital and the young soldier in a battlefield foxhole, and in them I see America.
I have seen the brilliant graduates of the best law schools who forgo the riches of a corporate firm for the often thankless slog of a district attorney or public defender’s office, and in them I see America.
I have seen the librarian reshelving books, the firefighter, police officer, and paramedic in service in trying times, the social worker helping the elderly and infirm, the youth sports coaches, the PTA presidents, and in them I see America.
I have seen the immigrants working a cash register at a gas station or trimming hedges in the frost of an early (continued in comments)