Since coming to the U.S.A. over 30 years ago, I have learned many things about my adopted country.
I learned there are Americans who are not homeowners. Before coming here, I did not know poverty was a problem in this country which is known around the globe as the richest and most powerful in the world. I did not know about discrimination until I got here and experienced it. I did not know there were people with bad intentions, taking advantage of others.
It's tough to reconcile what I learned in school back in the Philippines, an ally and once under American tutelage. We studied U.S. history and government in high school. We loved everything American, and our dream was to be here, experiencing everything American.
Why is there poverty in a country known to be the richest and most powerful in the world? I don't know, and I don't understand. I wonder what our federal, state and local governments have done to solve the problem?
The nation's founding documents describe the pursuit of happiness, life, liberty, equality and justice for all. But I've observed inequality in pay and poor living conditions continue to be problems of America.
Who is responsible for this? Is it the people themselves, and not the politicians and government officials or the millionaires, company CEOs that may be in cahoots with politicians and lobbyists?
We are quick to blame those in authority, who are supposed to represent us, but instead stick to their party's line, even if their party's votes don't reflect the wishes of the American people.
When the country is going in the wrong direction, many people are quick to point their fingers at the president, whose power is to execute laws passed by Congress. Why don't we blame Congress, which is charged with the task of making laws for the nation, or the Supreme Court that interprets the laws?
Everything public officials do should be for the common good of all people in America, right?
What about our responsibilities, dear people? We were responsible for placing these public officials into office. Aren't we also to blame, then, if everything is not going the way it should be in our government?
Isn't it supposed to be a government of the people, by the people and by the people?
-Chris A. Quilpa, a retired U.S. Navy veteran, lives in Suffolk. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
*Appeared in today's Opinion page of the award-winning Suffolk News-Herald, Tuesday, March 3, 2015. For more information, visit www.suffolknewsherald.com