Liberty. Fraternity. Equality. This unholy trinity, like the three legged stool, cannot stand on one or two legs alone. Republic and democracy are the entities where the beneficiaries of that trinity, publios and demos (same thing in two languages, Latin and Greek, sort of like apple and pomme in English and French) thrive.
The prefix “re” does not, as some of our friends believe, derive from “rex” or king. Rather, the prefix refers to the things (res) with which the publios or public are concerned, also known as the “public interest.”
For some reason, perhaps in response to the horde of newly activated citizens in the last quarter of the 20th Century, the word “public” seems to have fallen out of favor, especially with the agents whom we hire (public servants) to carry out the directives aimed at providing for the general welfare.
Evidence of the disfavor can be found not only in the intense effort to privatize all public assets, from mountain ranges to park lands and sea shores, as well as the delivery of goods and services (defense, education, recreation, health care, etc), but also, and perhaps more importantly, in the persistent redefinition of the public, or people, into consumers, human resources, customers, legals, immigrants, tax payers and the homeless.
Citizens, the term originally used to identify the public resident in cities, are now only grudgingly recognized—on election day and as an excuse to discriminate against migrants. Is it because our public servants, not wanting to serve, are on a mission to simply wipe the public out, one segment at a time?
The rumination has to end here because I intend to submit it to the paper, which has a word limit.