At his 1981 inauguration, [Ronald Reagan] voiced his simple revolutionary credo: "Government is not the solution to our problem. Government is the problem." That remark was prescient, although not in the sense that Reagan intended. His naive faith in the private sector's capacity to regulate itself, along with his disdain for many of the necessary functions of the modern state, allowed cronies and crooks to flourish. Inept government, corrupt government and cynical government became severe problems during his tenure, leaving fiscal wreckage that remained for many years after he returned to private life. Joe Conason, "Reagan without Sentimentality"
|Hope for the corporates, change for the workers--
and downhill ever since.
It's one thing to want to win a spot in congress in order to change the government. Wanting better government is a fine and noble calling, and more power to ya'll. But it takes colossal chutzpah to go after a job where your salary and perks are paid for by the same people whose government you're out to destroy.We have a government in place, for better or for worse, because we the people are doing our share to keep big government going. Big government is big because we are a big country. We've seen what happens when big government is undermined and/or watered down. It becomes tasty carrion for Big Vultures to feed on, and they won't stop until they're down to bloody bones.
Rand Paul, the libertarian running for a Republican senatorial seat in Kentucky, tells his Tea Party followers, "Capitalism is freedom, we've come to take back our government". That kind of Gekko talk is building momentum among the Limbaugh/Beck/Palin/ crowd, even though they haven't yet explained what it means to "take back our government". Take it back to when? And give it to whom? Which of the Tea Party heroes is equipped to get us out of this mess? How will Smaller Government do it?
Last week Sarah Palin backed Clint Didier, a Washington state Tea Party candidate for senate who calls the federal government "a predator" and sees public spending as a "Marxist utopia". I'm betting Palin, in her rah-rah speech, forgot to mention that over the last 15 years the rabidly anti-government Didier has collected almost $300,000 in Federal farm subsidies. I'm betting neither one of them consider that little gift from the tax-payers an entitlement.
At the supposed heart of all the anti-government caterwauling is our astounding deficit. The truth is, it is totally astounding. Even I, a complete ignoramus when it comes to budget numbers, know a monster when I see one. It's terrifying. So when those Tea Party greenhorns yak on about how they're going to change things, I want to know exactly how they're going to do it. What magic plan do they have for altering the course of this out-of-control projectile called SOL America and bringing it back down to earth? Give it over to private industry? Isn't that how we got here? So if not private industry, what's left?
Oh, anti-G people, you're not gonna want to hear this, but. . .
Big government. They looked the other way when the marauders were laying waste, and now they're left to rebuild our villages (after they've cleaned up a massive oil disaster perpetrated and perpetuated by those same interests who would love to be joining you in your crusade against authority). They're going to have to do it by re-regulating, by in-sourcing, by creating life-sustaining jobs for Americans, and by assisting the people most affected by the economic downturn. If that means smacking down a few bankers or forcing corporations to play fair, it won't be the end of the world. The big guys got greedy and they blew it. Now they have to play nice. We can't have people out of work and out of food and out of homes and out of options. This is America.
We the people have to take top priority, and you the Tea Partiers have to get your priorities straight. You can't, for instance, still have control of your taxes once you've paid them. (If we could, mine would go to free clinics and food banks and homeless shelters--those socialistic necessities now currently swamped and overwhelmed because of America's refusal to end its love affair with Corporatist Bad Boys.)
If you've got gripes, join the club. We've all got gripes. But be mindful that your Tea Party movement, giving succor to the vicious, paranoid rantings of the Limbaughs, Becks, Bachmanns and Palins of the country, also eggs on the hate groups, trained and ready and itching for a reason to do bodily harm.
Do us all a favor and think about who you're actually choosing to run things around here. If your candidate's main qualification is a clever way of expressing his or her hatred for the government, just remember--in America that would be you.