Can Democracy Exist if Rights are Reduced to Merely Privileges?
I recently renewed my driver's license. The ability to drive in Kentucky is a privilege, but is it a right of mine to, as a tax payer, to have a drivable road, protected by a paid police force, maintained by paid highway street and traffic light crews, with paid water and sewer crews that assure me that the streets will not be covered in flood waters during periods of heavy rains? After all, some government intervention is helpful, despite what conservatives say. But what are my Rights and what are my Privileges, as possibly redefined by certain elected officials?
Governor Bevin now defines attending a Kentucky schools of higher learning e.g. U. of L. , U. of K. as a Privilege not a Right. Wrong! Attending a university basketball game at any of the previously mentioned institutions is a Privilege, one I cannot afford. Did I have a Right to deny constructing the public sports facility they use? What other citizen Rights will our new Governor redefine to be Privileges? Perhaps health care? Let's eliminate the availability of Kentucky health care insurance coverage as a Right, especially for those with the least financial means. Is health care a Right or a Privilege? Do persons have a Right to nourishment, be they children, adults, or seniors? Or are these basic needs only Privileges distributed from the benevolent hands of government surpluses, or in support of agricultural interests? Let the churches do this, isn't that the reason for granting churches the Privilege of a non-profit status?
Is public education at all levels a Right or a Privilege? American education originated for the Privileged, supported by churches and wealthy interests. Is our return to Corporate-chartered schools now a return to educate only a Privileged few at the cost of the majority? Will the secret contributions of Privileged Corporate interests, with their own particular curriculum and ideological viewpoints, now come to dominate the socio-political perceptions of our society? What will be the future Rights of citizens to question such positions?
Is there a Right to clean air, water, food, or will agencies established to monitor such operations now be considered Privileged institutions that will function only if permitted by budgetary constraints? is a living wage to provide the means to support one's self or family members a Right, or a Privilege earned by making successful life decisions? Should the physically challenged consider accessibility to facilities or services a Right as a citizen, or as a Privilege offered by the government?
Finally, and most importantly, is voting a Right or a Privilege available only to those who belong to a Privileged racial, ethnic, or socio-economic group? Is that Privileged driver's license, or ID from a Privileged university, now the prerequisite for being designated as an eligible voter? What are Rights and Privileges? Who determines these designations? Was this the reason FDR called for a Second Bill of Rights, and the reason why it was never accepted?