Publisher’s Corner: What Happened To The Common Good?


What happened to the American spirit of doing things for the common good? Our country was founded on the need for freedom from tyranny and religious persecution. Communities were set up and laws enacted for the common good. Representation was established and a national government formed for the common good of the people. Protecting the common good has been a pillar of our democracy. And yet today, I see more and more people fleeing the responsibility of the common good, their selfish actions cloaked in the mantra of “personal rights.” It’s so much easier to claim your rights have been violated than to live up to your responsibility as a member of a society that cares for others and protects and preserves the common good. That’s what social responsibility is all about. Whether it be in following the rules and laws set up by the community leaders, or perhaps the morals and ethics set forth by various religious texts. We are a society, a country, a people of laws and responsibilities. Public safety laws are often under attack as people have protested seatbelts, public smoking, speed limits, gun regulations and now facemasks and vaccines. Some would have a society without laws and rules. Some feel adults should be able to make all their own choices, even if it harms them. The problem with that thinking (and there are many) is we don’t live in a vacuum. The free-spirited actions of someone who wants to do anything they please, often affects those around them in a negative way thereby violating their rights. That’s why we have laws, to protect the common good. To follow these rules and laws would make us caretakers of the common good. To care about others is to also care for yourself. Love thy neighbor . . .  And yet, there are people more concerned about losing what they feel are their personal rights than caring for their neighbors. This behavior is selfish and founded in fear. If they want to be part of the community, then they need to do their part in protecting and preserving the common good. That’s what being a citizen of freedom is all about. You have the freedom to choose, given the parameters of our laws and regulations set forth by we the people. For those who feel a law or regulation violates their rights, they have the right to challenge that law with peaceful protest and by voting to change that law or regulation. If you don’t choose to make those changes you think necessary to protect your rights, then you end up without any freedoms or representation. Democracy isn’t always an easy journey. But all roads must lead to protecting the common good if we are to survive and thrive. Without its preservation, we live in chaos, anarchy. Public safety is all about protecting the common good, whether it be in a pandemic, a war or a natural disaster. These are the times that people must pull together to not only protect themselves and their families, but their neighbors and their neighbors’ families. Do unto others . . . and the common good will do unto you. We are all fingers of a hand that together grasps the challenges we face. Together we form a fist, alone we are just a fickle finger of ill fate.