In the last few weeks we have seen tensions between the haves and the have-nots in several countries explode with vicious fury. A first reaction, in many cases, is to thank our lucky stars that America is different; because “we live in a democracy.”

In the last few weeks we have seen tensions between the haves and the have-nots in several countries explode with vicious fury. A first reaction, in many cases, is to thank our lucky stars that America is different; because “we live in a democracy.”

However, growing inequality here at home is just as much a threat to our democracy as it is in any dictatorship. Massive unemployment and growing inequality is the fodder that fuels discontent, hate and, eventually, violence.  

Sometimes it is instructive to listen to what others are seeing in our country. A recent article in Germany’s news magazine, Der Spiegle, noted the ever widening gap between America’s rich and poor, with the interpretation that it is a danger signal that needs to be heeded.    

The top 1 percent of the U.S. population owns 37.1 percent of the nation’s assets.

The bottom 80 percent of Americans own only 12.3 percent of its assets.

Fifty million Americans at some point last year lacked sufficient funds to cover their food costs.

Only 4 percent of less affluent Americans stand a chance to become a part of the upper-middle class. That is a lower percentage than in every other industrialized nation, except Mexico and Turkey.  

To say that Americans are immune to public violence is to close one’s eyes to history. Our Civil War was the bloodiest war in the history of our country and, in the event of serious future unrest; it is sobering to consider that few countries in the world have as many guns in their homes as Americans.  

We all enjoy stories of how it is possible for people in America to go from rags to riches based on nothing more than their own hard work.

We truly want to admire those who are rich, but it is a fable, pure and simple, that the rich are the ones most responsible for job creation.

Small businesses are far more effective job incubators.

President Obama’s budget speech earlier this month was inspiring, but will remain so only if its rhetoric about cuts in the war industry can be redeemed in improvements in the lives of ordinary Americans and people all over the world. The cost for just one minute of war can build 16 new schools in Afghanistan. You be the judge as to whether more bombs dropped by military drones or  creating more schools would be more effective in building good relations between us and the Pakistanis.  

U.S. Mayors from across the nation will attend a conference in Washington, D.C., in a couple weeks. They will be exposed to a draft resolution urging a re-examination of our national spending priorities.

Five U.S. cities have already passed the resolution. If you would like to help introduce this resolution to cities in Eastern Jackson County, please send me an email.