On the Christmas edition of Common Dreams, Jay Walljasper, editor of onthecommons.org, has written a great essay about the things we share. Much of what we hear in the corporate media is based on a simplistic belief: private is good – public is bad. Walljasper challenges that belief and gives us much to think about on a holiday that has become too much about personal consumption. We need to remember that Jesus preached about serving the “least among us.” He did not say, “Greed is good.”
In a related editorial published by the Chicago Sun-Times, Rich Miller asks his readers to think about public employees in light of the recent death of two Chicago firefighters. Miller concedes that are problems in government, including the funding of employee pensions, but also he challenges the Civic Committee, which claims that public sector employees are overpaid. (I wonder how much members of the Civic Committee are paid – and who pays them.). As Miller says, the debate has been too one-sided. He ends his column with a good Christmas notion: “We shouldn’t turn each other into enemies.” I agree, but that doesn’t mean we should roll over and stop fighting for what is fair – and moral.
I was educated in public schools (and private schools). I also have learned much in public libraries and public venues that promote the arts, such as the Chicago Cultural Center. Public parks give people from all backgrounds the opportunity to enjoy nature and culture. Public roads let us get from one side of the country to the other. Good public officials (there are a few left) try to protect our rights and keep us safe. We constantly hear well deserved praise of the military, police officers and fire fighters. Like teachers, they are public employees. Public is not a bad word. Neither is sharing.