You know the one enjoyable thing about running a political blog is that I have a reason to run a political blog. The polarization in politics gives me a reason to sit here and jam out diatribe on my keyboard. I envision a universe where we all get along and we all have my worldview that social justice and environmental respect are ubiquitous. Yet the current polarization and the discord force me to keep voicing my opposition. I wonder what the world would be like if I didn’t feel the necessity to voice opposition. Why can’t President Obama forge alliances in congress? Why won’t the Republicans come out and play? What is it that makes us so divided
I have a speculation. I was recently commenting on another website about an event that just happened in rural Tennessee. A house outside the city limits caught fire and the local fire department would not respond to it because the owners had neglected to pay a fee to the city for fire services. The owners acknowledged that they had neglected to pay the fee and begged to pay it while the fire was happening but the fire department allowed the house to burn to the ground because the home wasn’t “on their list”. That was an unacceptable punitive response
Now, most communities take care of fire protection with taxes. This particular community chose to require an extra fee to help pay for their auxiliary disaster services. I find this problematic on several levels. Firstly, I grew up in a rural neighbourhood where you had to depend upon cooperation. If your neighbours house caught fire, you were morally obligated to show up for the bucket brigade. And you would expect a reciprocal response if your house were on fire
Secondly,why didn’t fire services get folded into the tax structure of the community? Understandably, the City Fire Department was paid out of city taxes. That meant the rural county residents were left to fend for themselves. Is it right to expect the city to offer services to those who choose not to participate
Stephen Colbert recently quoted scripture in a deposition on immigration to congress; Matthew 25: 31-46 “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” Heck, the Amish take it a step further and all show up to rebuild the house.
Republicans generally wave the Bible and the flag unabashedly, but this seems like an egregious abuse of Jesus’ teachings. I mean, if we’re going to charge everyone for individual fire protection why not do that for police protection or ambulance service? Doesn’t that smack of racketeering? Public services should be available to everyone hence the term ‘public’.
But this brings me back to my original point about how progressives and Conservatives view things. Progressives are outraged at this tragedy that occurred in Tennessee. Conservatives probably think, ‘oh well, you don’t play by the rules, you suffer the consequences. The city was just being efficient’.
You can apply this to social security privatization as well. Invest your social security in the stock market. If the market tanks; ah tough luck, buddy. For Democrats, governance is about making policy that benefits everyone. For Republicans, it’s about ‘what’s in it for me?’. It’s eliminating those policies that interfere with accumulating personal wealth. It’s deregulating environmental standards to help create giant oil company profits.
Creating a world that tears down governance for personal gain; well, that often means ‘what’s in it for me at your expense?’. I know which world I would rather envision.