Disgraced New York governor Eliot Spitzer has a great article in Slate about how Americans have lost their commitment to shared sacrifice, referencing Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address and the exhortation to all Americans to work hard so that the soldiers of the Civil War “shall not have died in vain.” I know it’s ironic to be lectured on sacrifice by someone who couldn’t even sacrifice his own orgasm for the good of his family and his state, but he makes some excellent points.
Spitzer talks mostly about taxes and energy, discussing for example how reading the Gettysburg Address makes investment bankers arguing for millions in additional compensation seem petty. But I would go further than Spitzer; the need for all of us to sacrifice to solve some pretty big problems could be extended from investment bankers to union members. Shared sacrifice should apply to those who sue for millions when they trip in the grocery store, those who are always looking for a government handout, those who hate sharing. During World War II women stopped wearing stockings because the silk was needed for the war effort. My guess is that we all have a metaphoric stocking we can give up for the good of the country.