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  • Writer's pictureJohn Ikerd

Finding Common Ground

Over the past several weeks I have written a series of eight “Finding Common Ground” blog posts. I have recently combined them all in a single “Common Ground” document for the convenience of those with a specific interest in understanding and confronting the multiple challenges threatening the future of our democratic republic of the United States of America.

During the American Revolution, Thomas Paine wrote a series of pamphlets which he called: “Common Sense.” His intent was to inspire Americans to create a new nation, based on their common sense of moral right and wrong, rather than accept continuing domination by the British monarchy. My intent in the this series of blog posts was to search for “Common Ground” upon which we might bridge the Great American Divide – culturally, socially, and economically — and restore integrity to this still great nation.

The “great American experiment” cannot be sustained without a political system firmly rooted in a moral sense of responsibility to secure liberty and justice for all – including those of future generations. It has never been unpatriotic to criticize one’s government when it fails to serve the common interest of the people – as did Patrick Henry in 1775. In fact, I believe it is unpatriotic to support one’s government or consent to one’s society when it fails to give priority to the good of the people in common over the collective self-interests of individuals.

We in the United States currently live in a deeply divided nation – divided economically, socially, and ethically. The divisions I see and feel as I travel about the country today are quite similar to those I read about in the times leading up to the Civil War. Families are divided within and among generations. The social fabric of communities is being ripped asunder. Our governments are essentially dysfunctional at all levels – local, state, and national. Those on one side of the divide see an oppressive government that is a threat to individual freedom and liberty while those on the other see a powerless government that is a threat to social equity and justice.

The government of the United States was established for the purpose of balancing individual liberty with social justice. It was committed to ensuring the freedom to pursue self-interests – as long as the actions of individuals did not infringe on the “rights” of others. Our current government obviously is failing in this responsibility, as least in the minds of the vast majority of Americans. The only solution I can see for restoring the essential balance between liberty and justice is to find common ground upon which can restore the consensus of the governed and thus the just power of government.

The Common Ground document includes the following blog posts:

  1. Consent of the Governed

  2. The Purpose of Government

  3. Questions of Rights and Responsibilities

  4. Self-Interest Rightly Understood

  5. A New Bill of Rights

  6. Constitutional Responsibilities of Federal Government

  7. Finding Common Ground on Health Care

  8. A Declaration of Interdependence

For those who are interested in reading more about using our common sense to find  Common Ground, I address many of these and other issues in my Kindle book, A Revolution of the Middle and the Pursuit of Happiness — also available as an audio book.

John Ikerd

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