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the Good, the Bad and the Government
Author: Raine    Date: 10/18/2013 13:07:43

I hate politicians, they're all the same. I hate politics, it's a dirty game. I hate DC, it's filled with swine. 'I hate the government', so many whine.

They hate it all until they need it. Sometimes, they don't even know they need it.
On the last day of September, an empty Chicago Transit Authority train somehow rumbled down the tracks and crashed into another train, injuring a few dozen passengers. The National Transportation Safety Board dispatched investigators, and they kept working when the shutdown started the next day because they were "essential." But the agency furloughed others whose job is to explain to the public what happened.

So millions of commuters used the transit lines without knowing more about what caused the crash. (snip)

Children learned the meaning of shutdown when they got home and booted up computers to do homework. From the U.S. Census bureau site to NASA maps, they were greeted by alerts that said government sites were down "due to the shutdown."

Linda Koplin, a math teacher in Oak Park, a Chicago suburb, asked her sixth-grade pupils to use a reliable online source to find the highest and lowest elevations.

"They were able to find all the elevations for the rest of the continents but they couldn't find information for their continent," Koplin said.
Then there are the personal stories. Little known to many is that government contractors put on furlough will not receive back pay. Lost on many people is that not all government contractors make hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. They aren't all Haliburton, Kellogg Root & Brown, Raytheon, Caci -- the list could go on.

Some workers are line cooks at museum cafeterias:
He is a line cook at the American Indian Smithsonian Museum on the National Mall. Anderson is not a government employee. He's a contract worker - the government hires his company to make the food for visitors to the museum. When the shutdown closed the museum, Anderson lost his job. He'll now presumably be able to go back to work, but unlike federal workers, he won't get back pay. And he could use that back pay: Anderson is a divorced father of two who usually brings home about $350 a week after taxes and child support. His 16-year-old son lives with him in Washington but commutes by bus and train to high school in Maryland every day.
This man deserved a functioning government. This man deserved to be able to support his family.

We deserve a functioning government. Yesterday, the President said the following:
And we hear all the time about how government is the problem. Well, it turns out we rely on it in a whole lot of ways. Not only does it keep us strong through our military and our law enforcement, it plays a vital role in caring for our seniors and our veterans, educating our kids, making sure our workers are trained for the jobs that are being created, arming our businesses with the best science and technology so they can compete with companies from other countries. It plays a key role in keeping our food and our toys and our workplaces safe. It helps folks rebuild after a storm. It conserves our natural resources. It finances startups. It helps to sell our products overseas. It provides security to our diplomats abroad.

So let's work together to make government work better instead of treating it like an enemy or purposely making it work worse. That's not what the founders of this nation envisioned when they gave us the gift of self-government. You don't like a particular policy or a particular president? Then argue for your position. Go out there and win an election. Push to change it. But don't break it. Don't break what our predecessors spent over two centuries building. That's not being faithful to what this country's about.

The ongoing hatred spurned by extremists in the GOP is adding to a very ugly discourse in this country. Things took a very bad turn over 30 years ago after famed libertarian Ronald Reagan said: The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, 'I'm from the government and I'm here to help.' Wait, what? I bet you're asking 'I thought the Gipper was the GOP hero?' Well, there you go again.... in 1975, he also said, "I don't believe in a government that protects us from ourselves."
In addition, in recent months Reagan has taken to using the term "libertarian" (or "libertarian-conservative") to describe his political philosophy.

REASON: Governor Reagan, you have been quoted in the press as saying that you’re doing a lot of speaking now on behalf of the philosophy of conservatism and libertarianism. Is there a difference between the two?

REAGAN: If you analyze it I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism. I think conservatism is really a misnomer just as liberalism is a misnomer for the liberals–if we were back in the days of the Revolution, so-called conservatives today would be the Liberals and the liberals would be the Tories. The basis of conservatism is a desire for less government interference or less centralized authority or more individual freedom and this is a pretty general description also of what libertarianism is.

Now, I can’t say that I will agree with all the things that the present group who call themselves Libertarians in the sense of a party say, because I think that like in any political movement there are shades, and there are libertarians who are almost over at the point of wanting no government at all or anarchy. I believe there are legitimate government functions. There is a legitimate need in an orderly society for some government to maintain freedom or we will have tyranny by individuals. The strongest man on the block will run the neighborhood. We have government to insure that we don’t each one of us have to carry a club to defend ourselves. But again, I stand on my statement that I think that libertarianism and conservatism are travelling the same path.
How wrong he was. In the years after that interview, after his election, we have seen the Republican party take the Reagan mantra to teach the middle class to hate government. Libertarianism has taken over the Republican party.
Teaching the middle class to hate their government was an essential part of the plan to implement Corporate Feudalism. A middle class cannot exist without a strong government. This is because only a government has the power to stand up to the giant corporations of today’s world, or the powerful individuals and private armies of earlier times. It is the government that enforces the laws to protect the middle class from those who would like to become their economic rulers. That is why prior to the Industrial Revolution and the creation of the middle class all economies were run according to some version of the feudal system. If you want to put an end to the middle class and replace it with a feudal republic, you would need to change people’s perception of their government.
30 years later, we have gone through another Republican-led government shutdown that cost our nation 24 billion dollars. We have seen people pushed to the brink economically. Businesses have suffered. Children ceased receiving life saving medical treatments, and of course, the veterans.

Good government works. It works when we stop believing the mantra that it is something to be hated. It works when we stop electing libertarian conservatives funded by billionaires. It works when we elect people who will represent our values as opposed to what we are told to believe. It works when we believe in ourselves without the filter of anger and hate. It works when we research and understand the issues at hand. Trust but verify. (Ironically, also attributed to Ronald Reagan) Trusting in ourselves and our choices allows us to elect trustworthy representatives. It works when we don't demonize what was given to us by the founding fathers.

Good government doesn't necessarily mean big or small. Good government is efficient. Our elected officials need to start focusing on good governance as opposed to crisis governance. Too many elected representatives feed the fear and anger that simply allows the cycle of learning to hate government. It's dysfunctional and unhealthy to our psyche as a nation. There is nothing wrong with good governance. Imagine a day in your life without the benefits that good, functioning government has brought over the decades: A Day in Your Life.

I am a Democrat. I am a liberal. I believe in a multi-party political system. I believe in healthy debate and discourse. I believe in voting and I believe in trying to make things better. I believe in letting our elected officials know when I believe they are wrong and I believe in trying to help them see solutions. I believe in being an active participatory citizen. I believe in good government. Our constitution allows for us to always strive to make this a more perfect nation. It should not provide for people to demonize our government -- and our country.


77 comments (Latest Comment: 10/19/2013 01:18:42 by TriSec)
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