Archive for December, 2004

Property owners

When ever I am with children on a trip to Washington, D.C., I point to the U.S. Capitol and say, “Do you know who owns that building on the hill?”

They invariably shrug. “You do,” I say. “You own that building. It’s beautiful, isn’t it? See that one there and there” and I point to the Smithsonians and the National Archives. “You own them to.”

I tell them about the revolution and how the colonists bravely overthrew a king. I tell them how the Constitution created a new covenant between the people with each other. I tell them it is not a perfect document, but no one is perfect and the beauty of it is the founding fathers knew they couldn’t make anything perfect, but they tried anyway.

I tell them everyone in those buildings work for them and other Americans. I tell them that they share those buildings with 295 million other people in this country, but they own them as much as anyone, as much as the richest man or the president of the United States.

My family may not own much. Our house may be small and our vehicles have too many miles on them. But we own some pretty property in Washington, D.C., some terrific forests and homes and beaches and wetlands across the country. We own them. We all own them.

 
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