Bill Moyers on American Society

Here’s an exerpt from a speech given by Bill Moyers at Occidental College on March 22, 2007. A transcript of the entire speech is publshed on commondreams.org.

America was not supposed to be a country of “winner take all.” Through our system of checks and balances we were going to maintain a healthy equilibrium in how power works – and for whom. Because equitable access to public resources is the lifeblood of any democracy, we made primary schooling free to all. Because everyone deserves a second chance, debtors, especially the relatively poor, were protected by state laws against their rich creditors. Government encouraged Americans to own their own piece of land, and even supported squatters’ rights. In my time, the hope of equal opportunity became reality for millions of us. Although my parents were knocked down and almost out by the Great Depression, and were poor all their lives, my brother and I went to good public schools. The GI Bill made it possible for him to go to college. When I bought my first car with a loan of $450 I drove to a public school on a public highway and stopped to rest in a public park. America as a shared project was becoming the engine of our national experience. Continue reading