Mar 022012

When did they decide that, because I’m a “liberal” that I like taxes? Hell, no! I don’t like taxes at all. But, here’s the difference. I know that I like what my taxes get for me.

I like my public library and the first responders who came when I needed them. I like free public schools, the teachers that inspired me, and the gifted teacher that my wife used to be. I like highways and bridges and reservoirs. I like clean water and clean air and fewer potholes.

I know that I don’t like having to do every fool thing for myself. I like the rule of law that says some gang can’t just waltz into my house, shoot me in the head, and take whatever they want. Granted, it sometimes happens, but not very often, and there are consequences.

So, not being stupid, I don’t want no government. I don’t want to “reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub” [Grover Norquist]. I want better government — government that is open, transparent, and efficient. I want regulations that help keep things fair and balanced. I want protections from toxic waste dumps, exploitation of children, and exorbitant banking fees.

How bad is it? I enjoyed the colorful description offered by the author of “Are We Too Dumb for Democracy?” – “Our democratic government is like a college grad’s first apartment. There’s crap everywhere, no one picks anything up, and there’s a slow-motion decay of apathy, carelessness, and confusion.” Plenty of fixing to do.

It gets worse. Our government is showing signs of becoming self-destructive. For instance, the willingness of House Republicans to default on our debts. They also refuse to vote on legislative ideas that they had previously endorsed because,this time,it came from the White House.

I have run across startling metaphors for this self-destructive trend:

  • “Circular firing squad”
  • “Has the Republican Party become a death cult? “
  • “…it certainly looks and sounds like a suicide pact has secretly been signed”
  • “…refuse to grab the lifeline that President Barack Obama threw them”
  • Scott Brown… drank the Kool-Aid, Jonestown-style

To the GOP: Lead, follow, or get out of the way. And, tear up your signed no-new-taxes pledges of allegiance to Grover Norquist.

To the DCCC: If you want a clear board to play on, run an every-state, every-district, everything-you-can-tilt campaign. We will help, but it will help to show us the danger. Like the Republicans, we get more excited when we feel the adrenaline of fear. It’s not pretty. It’s not what we’re about. But, you know I’m right.

To everybody else: Please spend time getting broadly informed. Don’t just parrot someone else’s talking points. Find out how it all works together so that we can all work together. Figure out what new problems will appear as unintended consequences of your favorite policy ideas. Now you’re getting ready. Get involved. Get results.

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