Republicans talk constantly about humble beginnings. Or how they sacrificed or overcame huge obstacles. Which is all well and good. There is no doubt about their hard work and even some portion of their sincerity. But when they take all credit as individuals, and use it like a stick to beat our president and our hard-won safety net, they bear false witness.
They fail to acknowledge the help they got–not just from their family and community–but from their government at every point in their lives. In so doing, they insult every taxpayer and every hard working citizen who is *also* proud to be lifted up by the still incredibly rich infrastructure of our nation. Even the very stadium where the RNC is being held tonight was built with a substantial portion of public funding.
No one wants a 'culture of dependency.' We recognize the corrosive effect of too-high-taxes and too-easily available public funds. But we also recognize that there is a balance rooted in practical compassion, and an optimum size of government. There is a way to create a level playing field, a system of checks and balances on corporate power, a system of stewardship of natural capital, a system that takes the money out of politics and returns us to our most valuable tradition: one person = one vote.
Someday we will defeat Citizens United, throw out the lobbyists, reduce violence and inequality and build a true meritocracy where success is based on achievement–not wealth and connections. Where CEOs are not paid hundreds of times as much as the average worker. Where the military industrial complex is not valued above human needs. Where not just our budget but our ecology is fully in balance from year to year. And where people from different nations do not feel they are better than one another. Think of how amazing it will feel to say–not just of some small business, but of our entire world: "we did build that–together!"