Fairly unique among the countries of the world is that the United States of America was founded on an ideal- a mission. From the very first document that declared us independent, that mission was to ensure life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness to all men. It was also to ensure equality since all men were said to be created equal.
No one today would say that the phrase “men” should still only refer to propertied, white males. All but the most selfish and prejudiced would agree that today it really refers to all people
So The United States of America is a mission-driven entity. This makes the United States of America a not-for-profit endeavor. A not-for-profit is defined as a mission-driven business. That means it has income and expenses just like any business, but it is not out to make a profit- it’s out to serve it’s mission.
Like all not-for-profits the US’ sole purpose is to serve the public good. The elected officials are the administrators of the organization and we citizens are all the board of trustees. Notice that word “trustees”. That means we are all entrusted with ensuring that the public good is met.
It’s the job of the trustees to set policy, to help fundraise, to evaluate the administrators and to decide in general terms where resources (especially money) ought to be allocated.
How does this differ from a for-profit business, or what we normally just refer to as a business? Well a business is just out to make money and it can be market-based in that it can sell shares to stockholders. It can decide to change it’s purpose (it’s “mission” )and still be a for-profit business- a non-profit cannot. As long as it is trying to make profit- more money than it takes in (as much money beyond what it takes it as it can), then it’s fulfilling it’s purpose.
But a non-profit’s purpose is it’s mission- not making money. Any money it makes must be put back into the business and cannot be used to enrich shareholders or owners. So, a non-profit cannot be a market-based enterprise and it should not serve the market. Neither should the Untied States Government.
Is our government serving it’s mission? Is it providing life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness while ensuring the equality of all it’s citizens (who are, as the declaration says, created equal)? Is it serving its added mission- engraved on Lady Liberty -to welcome the world’s tired, poor, huddled masses yearning to be free? Is it a democracy like it’s supposed to be?
I don’t think so. You can’t have liberty in a militarized surveillance state. You can’t have a right to life in a world where profits are more important than health and safety. You can’t pursue happiness without a decent job and a living wage. You can’t be welcomed if there’s no path to citizenship.
The US can’t light the way to freedom when it oppresses other people all over the world. The US can’t have a democracy when money is speech and the more money you have the more control over policy you get.
The United States government was founded as a democracy with a mission: providing all people with the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Those rights were offered to the rest of the world by the Statue of Liberty. If we’re not doing that, then we’re not the United States- we’re something else. It’s time for us to re-dedicate ourselves to the mission. It’s time to stop being The Militarized Oligarchy of Financial Exploitation. It’s time to be The United States of America.