Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Volvo with a gun rack

As I read through some of the debate dialog, from Republican hopefuls to the Senate Resolution, an old memory of Robin Williams' voice put a smile, albeit a weak one, on my face. "Compassionate conservative? That's like a Volvo with a gun rack."
Back in the day, 'compassionate conservative' was an actual term, a tongue-in-cheek way of noting certain right wingers un-right wing affinity for government sponsored social organizations and subsidies. It was a snide remark back then, descriptive of few. Now, it's damn near ludicrous and imaginary.
At last weeks debate, Wolf Blitzer from CNN posed a question to Ron Paul about a hypothetical 30 year old man with no health insurance who had fallen very ill. In order to survive he would need 6 months in the ICU. Should, he asked, "we just let him die?" Before Ron Paul could answer, several Tea Partiers in the crowd yelled, "Yeah!" followed by cheers, jeers and applause. Ummmmmm...
Let me put it this way, if I beat the ever loving shit out of you, not kill you (because then I know we'd go with death penalty), but just beat you to the point where you need a fingerprint to prove it's actually you - society should pay for me to sit in jail, get three meals a day, learn how to shank and become a drug dealer, but you, you, the victim - society should let you either die in a gutter or, pay medical bills for the rest of your life...
Hmmmm - justice?
Now, let me go ahead and say that I don't think this country could EVER become a socialist nation. It's simply not in our DNA. However, I do think that a socialized republic is a lofty but ultimately attainable goal. That is of course, if we can get up off our asses and do something about it. But that's another soap box I'm not getting up on right now.
Right wingers seem to think that simply by cutting down government, everything from the market to humanity will even itself out to its best full potential. For fucks sake people - I mean, come on! Daniel Foster actually wrote in the NationalReview.com that the best way for people to get through tough times is to lean on family, friends and the church, not government. OK - well let's say all your friends and family are shit poor too - and the church? Oh, blow it out your ass Foster. The only thing the church is good for in times of need is to remind you how fucked you are by having to pay taxes they skirt because of some guy nailed to a pair of sticks.
Wanna know what I see here in downtown LA? On the average day, just going out for simple errands: walk to the bank, post office, coffee shop, the car - I see on average 20 homeless people. Wanna know what else I see? I see people outside of government subsidized missions and homeless shelters, waiting in line for food and blankets. Guess whose stoop is empty? The church.
It sounds nice and philanthropic but this utopia where a band of family, friends and make believe deities is always there with the right amount of cash, love and guidance just isn't fucking reality. Forgive me for entering into the realm of depressive realism, but reality blows sometimes.
That being said, reality can blow a lot less with a buffer against the harsh, biting winds of bad times. That buffer is called a government for the people, by the people and of the people. A government that works on behalf of the people it governs. It does not sit, laissez-faire while its people beg each other for loose change and a hand out. However, it does not hand out needlessly or without self interest. Interestingly enough, when a well formed government acts in its own self interest, that self interest is your self interest - hahaha, wow! Follow along with me for a second...
It creates and maintains a system of give and take. You put in an appropriate amount of your earnings knowing that should you need that buffer, it's there for you. You realize that when you go into the hospital or when you send your kids to school, it's your money that's paying for it, but also that of your friends, family and neighbours (not the church tho - they don't pay dick). You can feel proud and ironically, free, knowing that you are part of a strong, people drive system, working for the people, by the people. It is a colossal behemoth of human ingenuity and drive - progressively moving forward without leaving everyone behind. It cares without coddling. It sets up rules and regulations based on the interests of many, not the prized few. It takes into account well being, not accounts. And in so doing, it has a healthy account, both monetarily and in the hearts and minds of those it governs.
Sounds Utopian? Probably. But these tenets are tenets taken from the ideas and dreams of the founding of this country. If the constitutionalists behind people like Ron Paul really wanna feel patriotic, consider stepping outside the confines of bottom lines and extremist propaganda.
There's no such thing as a free market that works. There's no such thing as a non-existent government that works. And there's no such thing as a free people under either.
Drop your extremist ideologies, and come see what the center feels like. I promise, if you look back at our country's history - it looks pretty damn healthy, happy, successful, and...free.

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