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January 29, 2015

Now Is The Time…

Patricia A. Kelly

The term “beneficence” is used in ethics, and relates to benefit, or beneficial actions. It reflects a concern for the wellbeing of others, whether research subjects, the sick, constituents, or fellow citizens.


Many efforts have been made to find an ethical balance between beneficence and autonomy, or personal freedom. The question is when concern for others should override or limit personal freedoms. The first and easiest place to draw the line is to say that people should be free to do and think as they wish as long as they do no harm to others.


That choice is probably too simple in present-day society. An example of a more likely and generally approved ethical choice would be to tax financially competent citizens for the benefit of the helpless. This tax would provide food, housing, and clothing to those who cannot get these things on their own. Although doing this does place demands on the taxed, and limits on their personal freedom, it is generally believed that the benefits to society as a whole outweigh the downside, that pesky loss of personal freedom of those taxed.


Present day perception in the United States is that Democrats are into beneficence, while Republicans are not.


“Democrats have hearts, and Republicans have brains.”


This view has grown, in part because of very successful Democratic campaign rhetoric and media savvy. In addition, until the recent elections, the Republican Party, as the minority, was the party of “No.” It is said they did propose alternative solutions to problematic Democratic legislation, and that these proposals languished on Nevada Sen. Harry Reid’s desk, but the public didn’t really hear much about them. What the public heard was their objections, often very appropriate, to proposed Democratic and presidential policies.


Republicans, in their quest to protect personal freedoms and to promote responsibility for personal actions, are often believed to have no concern for the needy or those with non-traditional values or lifestyles.


Actual published Republican values, although very traditional in some areas, strongly favor equal treatment for all people, the protection of children from poor education, and social programs that lift people out of poverty, along with smarter, smaller government.


Now that the 2014 elections have provided Republicans with victory, whatever the reason, Republicans have a new level of responsibility.


Now, winning in 2016, including winning the presidency, is on them, not just on their criticism of Democratic leaders.


Now they must perform, as well as win the hearts of more Americans.


It’s a tough challenge. Republicans are very much behind Democrats in technology. They are very much behind in getting across the message of what they intend to create in our country. They are very much behind in reaching out to diverse peoples. They are very much behind in demonstrating their beneficence.


Recent behaviors among Washington leaders – and in Frederick County politics – do not indicate that they get this.


It’s time to get to work, people, and time to show what you’re made of. It’s definitely time to give up creepy politics as usual, and to create the largest, most inclusive party in history. It’s time to begin creating the government that people envision, and time to draw a picture of what outcome Republicans see as a result of their policies.


Most especially, it’s time to show the love. It’s a big job, but someone has to do it, or else recent election victories will be another squandered opportunity for Republicans, and for the people counting on them.


It’s beneficence, people, not lying, name calling and secret deal making.


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