Joyce Gibb (Your Views, Apr 27) reminds me that ever since the Progressive Era, some people have claimed that the wording of this country's guiding documents could only be interpreted as a mandate for the government to make every effort to do everything possible to be all things to all people. How else to interpret words such as "We the people" or "promote the general welfare" or "of the people, by the people and for the people”? Is there a way for a government to serve every citizen equally without twisting itself into a pretzel trying to give everybody everything and bankrupting the country in the process?
Yes, there is a way. It's recognizing that each citizen has equal rights and protecting those rights equally. By doing so, the government recognizes that each individual's life belongs to him and provides each person the best possible chance to seek to get what he wants out of life.
Of course, these rights must be defined properly. Actual rights protect freedom of action. They don't grant one person a claim on the efforts of another. This is why the Declaration of Independence doesn't refer to a right to happiness, but a right to pursue happiness. The Founding Fathers recognized the proper role of government. Abraham Lincoln strove to uphold the principle of individual rights. Thankfully, there are those today who continue this great work.
Rob Abiera, Oklahoma City
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