So goes the way of democracy?

Saturday, September 11th, 2010 @ 10:46 am | Politics

Yes, a democracy is potentially threatened by the citizenry getting greedy then needy with benefits.

The *American people* do not want to hear that they have to pay for the services that they receive from government. They want something for nothing. All of these politicians wouldn’t be following this path if it was going to get them thrown out of office.

Yet this is emblematic of the choices each of us makes, and a product of the same. I may discover that I can eat a box of Swiss Cake Rolls for little over a dollar a day and make myself very happy, temporarily. When I need to park my fat ass in a scooter, I may realize that I shouldn’t have eaten so many Swiss Cake Rolls. So yes, just eating junk and doing nothing else will destroy one’s health.

One may immediately suggest not eating so many Swiss Cake Rolls. Such is good measure, but one has another option: exercising. Good eating will only get you so far if you don’t exercise.

America has some junk food to get out of its system, but it also needs to exercise. Once we’ve decided what we need to be spending on, we need to be willing to have the tax rates necessary to pay for them. Democrats are trying to get our asses off the couch and doing a little cardio, but Republicans are complaining that they get enough exercise walking to the fridge.

Who’s being responsible?

Of course, Republicans like to call Democrat spending programs junk food, and vice versa. So we do need to make some decisions. And I think the people are fundamentally comfortable with preferring to have Social Security and health care vs. spending more than the rest of the world combined on the military, but, of course, the Republicans (and Democrats who take money from defense contractors) start flopping around on the floor in convulsions if we talk about shaving a percent or two off our military spending. So in the end, we’re largely satisfied with our spending. We want some of the junk food, and actually a lot of the domestic spending is pretty healthy stuff. So, what does a person who likes that extra fatty sugary food do? Exercise harder.

A vote for the GOP this fall is voting for sitting on the couch longer and eating more. I mean, sure, Republicans say they want to cut spending, but six years of complete GOP control (and with a Democratic minority that rarely filibustered, as was tradition) proved that the GOP loves spending more than anybody. It’s nothing more than a campaign tease. “I’ll eat better, I promise!” Well, maybe.

Democrats have, at least, the advantage that Bush’s tax cuts were so deep that they were made temporary (it’s almost as if they were meant to expire if we weren’t doing so well…). They can, by doing nothing, immediately get America exercising more to counteract the eating.

We may be a doomed nation, but not yet. We still have choices to be made. Our choice in November is pretty simple, I’d say, but the noise is hard to cut through for people who aren’t paying deep attention. The GOP is power hungry, nothing more. They went nuts with it during Bush’s reign, and they went nuts when they lost it. If put back in control, they will continue proposing further destructive measures to keep themselves in power longer. We will continue to lose ground on the real hard choices necessary to fight deficit spending, health care costs, global warming, peak oil, you name it. Nearly anything that might cause a little pain today for gain tomorrow, the GOP will oppose it.

Don’t get me started on how many of them don’t care because they think the Rapture is coming, and that it’s important that they be in power and have lots of weapons when it happens.

The point is, that way lies destruction. Fiscal conservatism and responsibility require a tax increase. America needs to step it up and prove that we can sustain this experiment in democracy. We need to prove that we aren’t going to just be here 200 years, but 2000, 20,000, 200,000…hell, we can even make it a 2-4 billion years before the sun blows up. But not if we aren’t willing to make a hard choice.

Unemployment may be high, and Democrats may be having a hard time getting quick results (ahem, thank Republican filibusters for much of that), but voters need to send the GOP a message that the way they’ve been carrying on isn’t the way to be trusted with responsibility again.

That said, we probably won’t, and we’ll probably survive a while longer. Our problems are deep, and long-term. All the same, it’s those daily choices that add up. November is likely to be a step backward.

-hw

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