Sunday, December 16, 2012

Pierce on Newtown: "The bell tolls for all of us."

Part one of four.

The Bell Tolls For All Of Us, by Charles P. Pierce (Esquire Politics Blog)

... When we go on forever on the blog here about the value of a political commonwealth, and how it is a product of the ongoing creative process of self-government, this kind of response is what we're talking about. There are things we must do together, in a political context, because these things are too big — and, in this case, too monstrous — for us to handle alone. Self-government and its institutions — public schools, police and fire departments, the ridiculously underfunded mental-health facilities, and all the people to whom we increasingly begrudge their salaries — are the only things keeping us from falling back into barbarism, and the only things keeping us safe and sane when one of us falls back into it on their own.

We are our brother's keeper. The bell tolls for all of us. These very old — and, yes, Bryan, very Christian — concepts really do undergird our experiment in self-government. We all have an investment in the institutions through which we apply these concepts to each other and to ourselves. We have to nurture those institutions and guard them, because they are so very much more easily destroyed than they are to build. And, yes, dammit, we have to pay for them, and we have to pay the salaries of the people who work for them, because we are their keepers, too, and because the bell tolls for them the same way it tolls for all of us.

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