The fundamental thing to do for every man is to give him a chance to reach a place where he will make the greatest possible contribution to the public welfare. Help any man who stumbles; if he lies down, it is a poor job to try and carry him; but if he is a worthy man, try your best to see that he gets a chance to show the worth that is in himTheodore Roosevelt, The New Nationalism, August 31, 1910
This article by a Pennsylvania economic development official is full of important insights about our current politics and, in the process, tells the history of how the sense of American community underlying Roosevelt’s New Nationalism was abandoned by our political system over the last 50 years. The author primarily discusses what the Republican Party must do to retain the independent working class vote, but also points out that this vote is available only because of the Democrats’ failures. While the new Republican tax bill may provide a temporary growth spurt, a sustained recovery in middle class incomes must be supported by wider action by the national government. This is especially true since the economic growth that naturally powered the rise in incomes and opportunities in the 20th century will be much slower. In the end, a true New American Nationalism means reviving our sense of a common American community committed to preserving a reasonably equal opportunity for all citizens to achieve the American Dream.