Dear old St. Ronald. He got so much wrong during his lifetime that one wonders when he began slipping away into the fog of Alzheimer’s. But that particular canard has proven most damaging over the years since he slipped away, even more so than his disastrous fiscal policies. It paints “Government” somehow as the enemy of the people. The truth is that Government is the people. We the People simply make up the government and then ask it to do our bidding. It is a creature of the people of America, invented by us to protect ordinary citizens, and to resolve problems that we create ourselves, or that others create for us. Because Government is just a group of people—other Americans-- we pay through taxes to handle problems.
Ever since St. Ronald, republicans have gone round the bend about how Government is the problem and how, even, Government is somehow the enemy of the American people. But the truth is, Government is Us. It doesn’t even begin to resemble an enemy.
See, when we (collectively) don’t like something that Government is doing, we can change it. That’s the basic truth that republicans prefer to ignore when they demagogue about the evils of “Big Government.” It is arguably true that Government today is big, but then so are “we the people.” America today is a bit larger than it was in 1776 when we created ourselves as the US of A. Our government has grown along with us. It gets larger as we add more functions we wish it to carry out. And, as it gets larger, the bill to pay for it increases, so our need for taxes increases. That’s the other thing. See, taxes are an unpleasant reality of life in the modern world, not just here. My view of taxes is that, whether I like sending out those checks quarterly or not, taxes represents a kind of glue that binds us together as a civilized society. They’re neither good nor bad in the abstract, despite what republicans would have you believe. The arguments today about the debt seem to be about taxes, but they are really about the central question of what kind of civil society it is we wish to create and maintain. Over time, we have created a complex society that has within it features that would please most, and features that displease many. But that’s the bargain we need to understand if we are to live together. Current republican arguments suggest that they really no longer wish to live together with non-republicans, even to the rather bizarre talk by people such as Perry and Palin that perhaps some states should consider seceding, i.e., we should literally break up this country that so many fought and died for to preserve.
I think that we need to sit back and think a bit harder about all this inflammatory rhetoric being tossed about by our republican friends. Increasingly, they are sounding more like enemies of the republic than friends and countrymen who simply disagree about some things in the country. What am I to think when it turns out that the bankers of the land simply defrauded the American people . . . bilked us . . . asked for and received a handout from the dreaded Government, and then went back to business as usual as though nothing had happened. They aren’t even chastened. And these people, along with the soil and air polluters like the Murdoch’s and the Koch’s are currently financing the republicans in their quest to destroy the basic agreements under which we live together as Americans.
Who I ask is the enemy here?
It sure as hell isn’t the Government.