How many bridges carried everyone safely today? How many people received life saving medical treatment today in a publicly funded hospital? How many people did not get chronic diarrhea (or even cholera) today because of an effective water treatment system? How many air traffic controllers safely guided hundreds of aircraft and their passengers to the ground today? How many police officers arrested a drunk driver and saved a life today? These successes were funded largely through tax dollars.
We were rightly upset when the Katrina response was mismanaged. We are rightly appalled by the malfeasance of the city officials in Flint Michigan. We are right to speak out when police officers, though incompetence, bad training or worse, maliciousness, unnecessarily take a life.
We are only upset however, because the success of our civilization has raised our expectations. Our society supports an unprecedented number of people at a level of material wealth undreamed of by any previous generation. Most of us alive today would not have lived past 12 years old if we had been born in any previous era. We complain because we cannot have everything we want when we have more than anyone has ever had. Do you have poor access to healthcare? Poor access to current healthcare is better than good access to the healthcare of 100 years ago. Rather than be only discontented with society, we should be flabbergasted that such a thing exists.
To the rich: You live at a level of opulence beyond the dreams of any king, monarch or potentate in the previous 7000 years of civilization. Don't waste your anger complaining that society taxes you to pay for the infrastructure that supports the system that makes your unprecedented wealth possible.
To the poor: Being poor is not easy. Being poor never has been. You may feel that a person as well blessed as myself does not have the right to criticize but please be patient. Do not waste your anger at the problems and shortcomings of the welfare system. It is only the poor of the last 100 years who have had a welfare system to complain about. Do not waste your anger that the system is not fair. Never in history has the system been fair, but never have the poor of any society been in a better situation than you. Be discontented with injustice but do not waste your anger. Make every effort to take advantage of all the resources that you do have. You may not be happy with current society but the current social structure provides you with more opportunities than 99% of the human beings that have ever lived.
Discontent is the spur of all improvement but it is hard work to make things better. It is easy to tear them down. Let's not let our discontent spoil our good judgement. Our society and our government, even as they are, must be maintained if they are to be improved.