Saturday, August 18, 2012

There Goes The Neighborhood, There Goes The Empire

I've always been the straight arrow in most ways. Go ahead, laugh. I know what you're thinking. I'm talking about the stuff they taught me in Sunday school, though. I border on rushing down to police headquarters to confess to crimes that I didn't commit  like those other nuts. I try to tell the truth. I've never been tempted to cheat on my taxes. I've always wanted to do my part.

Now my government, at every level, is owned by monied interests who write tax laws for the hacks to implement. Knowing that we all pay taxes at a higher rate than wealthy folks tempts all of us to consider fudging things a bit I suspect.

We don't discuss cutting a "defense budget" which fuels war all over the world to benefit oil companies and weapons manufacturers. Instead we watch the crooks on TV wring their hands over teachers' pay and municipal unions and medicare and medicaid. We pay for their health care. They don't seem to care much who pays for yours.

I remember when I was a kid and I would hear tales of adventurous tourists returning from the Soviet Union. They always talked about cheaply made goods. Clocks that didn't run. There was always mention of disgruntled workers with no real incentive to put out any effort. Everything was described as bleak and gray and grim. Communist party leaders took care of themselves and each other at the disadvantage of the citizenry. They had overextended themselves for years in their invasion of Afghanistan. There was terrible polarization between the party loyalists and the ones who had had their fill. Neither side liked nor trusted the other.

The government officially attempted to tamp down creativity and individuality. 

Now, here we are. Tear down that wall, Mr. Obama. Nobody is trying to redistribute anything. We just want a fair playing field including a safety net for the unfortunate among us. Nobody's talking Marx. I'm thinking Jesus.