In today’s heated political debate which I am much more involved in than I wish to be, I often see quotes from Thomas Jefferson. Immediately I am drawn to my first experiences or associations with that luminous name…but those recollections are not of National Politics but rather of adolescent years in Fair Lawn, NJ. Those long healthy bike rides to school, lunch brakes spent peddling to that new fledgling hamburger joint on Rte. 4, which has grown exponentially beyond our twelve cent hamburger dreams with a side of fries and a coke for under a buck. Gee whiz, a penny must have meant something back then…but I digress.
Today our country is faced with a potential economic collapse that some predict to being worse than what our parents struggled through in the ’30’s. With some wonderful forethought, the social security act was signed into law by FDR on August 14, 1935.
As young working folk, (I started working at Gorlin’s when I got my working papers at 15), we have paid into the so called Social Security Trust Fund for 46 years. Well truth be told, I stopped paying into the fund in 2000 and that is a long story which I won’t bore you with. But it is a great ongoing battle against unconstitutional wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya that keeps me feeling young and vital despite no longer working in the rat race. But getting back to our education at TJ and then in High School, I know that we had wonderful teachers and a very highly rated school system that allowed me to achieve a fantastic education at UCLA and then on to law school in Boston.
Over the last 11 years or so, I have become self-educated in areas that I never would have suspected I would roam. I had the privilege of being involved with Ralph Nader as a young Nader Raider, and an anti-war Viet Nam protestor who escaped the draft partially due to a football injury that I sort of suffered playing football at TJ in 8th grade. I knew that it was not that bad but I was able to hype it into a short draft deferment until Nixon implemented the lottery system while I was attending law school. From that Sunday night phone call from my father advising me that I drew a high number, like 360 until the Monday morning when I was supposed to see an anti-war doctor, my knee miraculously became healed and like Tiny Tim, I threw away my crutches and have never had a problem with them again.
Today we are faced with a potential loss of our Social Security Benefits and very complex economic problems that Washington is incapable of dealing with. This brings me back to one of my life long heroes, Thomas Jefferson. Of course it was by mere accident that our Town Fathers named our school after TJ, or perhaps they wanted us to learn about his beliefs in Individual Freedom, but I doubt it. Jefferson was an Anti-Federalist. Along with such other great historic American icons as Patrick Henry, Samuel Adams and many others, they understood that forming the “More perfect union” given to us by the US Constitution, we would engage in Empire Building. They were right.
Today, our American Empire boasts the most powerful killing machine that the planet has ever known. We have invaded countries in the name of Democracy and there is hardly any end in sight. Our Social Security System, Medicare Benefits and our entire economy is doomed as a result of this empire building that successfully killed off most of the indigenous Indian population on this continent in the name of Manifest Destiny. We have unduly influenced all of South America, the Far East and the Middle East. So without going on much further, I would conclude, that we should have learned more about TJ in junior high school and perhaps we would have questioned the Centralization of Power in the federal government long before we were killed in ‘Nam and our children and grandchildren foolishly sacrificed their lives to perpetual war in the name of American Empire and our dreams of Apple pie, baseball and the American Way. The perpetual war is threatening your Social Security checks and Medicare Benefits. We need to help end these wars of aggression and protect our children and grandchildren’s futures.