Welcome to 2013, kids. The bold future, the “brave new world” promised by the 21st Century. A time of amazing technology, great human achievement, and complete political gridlock.
Our nation is in a “sequester,” having passed a budget plan nearly two years ago that forced upon the entire country budget cuts–which may or may not really be cuts, depending on your point of view. These cuts are not miniscule, nor are they substantial. They won’t go terribly far in reducing our national debt, nor do they adequately address the fundamental problems we all are facing.
But they were designed to be painful and unworkable for both sides of the political spectrum, so much so, supposedly, that everyone would happily return to the negotiating table to help ensure their causes would not suffer this horrible fate.
But neither side blinked. So the equivalent of a budget axe came down and lopped off a whole 2 percent of the federal budget, or some $85 billion.
It’s gotten me thinking: just what do both sides really stand for when it comes to governing?
Conservatives claim to be the party of individual liberties, wanting smaller government and less intrusion in people’s lives, yet they want to dictate who can marry, and how, when and why women can control their reproductive cycle.
Liberals are the party of social justice and peace, and yet we still haven’t left Afghanistan, almost 10 years after invading.
Religious fundamentalists claim that liberal thought and teachings are going on every day in public schools, thus “indoctrinating” kids in that line of thinking. Which oddly enough is exactly what they’re doing in their private schools.
No one seems to want government or even to pay for it, yet we expect our roads to be cleared and in good condition. And somehow, in government agencies that have been created by politicians that may or may not have been needed, people just like you and I are trying to work and earn a living. And they’re vilified by anti-union, anti-big government conservatives…These same people who created a whole new, huge agency known as Homeland Security.
Somehow, a lot of politicians have a problem with cutting just over $42 billion dollars from this year’s defense budget. And yet conservative sites claim that we’re overpaying for public education, a point refuted by the fact that the equivalent cost of the total estimated cuts to Head Start and Special Education total up to just 8 F-22 Raptor aircraft, or 1/3rd of our annual aid to Isreal. (Source: Washington Post)
The political extremes argue that manned space travel is a waste of money. But so is funding for the use of unmanned aircraft domestically. Ronald Reagan proved that Trickle-down economics worked to jump-start a slow economy, just as Bill Clinton proved that increased government spending and limited tax increases can help maintain a robust economy and turn a balanced budget. And yet both men may or may not have controlled the economy because they both at some point had to deal with not having a majority in congress.
Furthermore, gun control is bad, but so is ensuring everyone has access to affordable health care. Religion in school is bad, unless we’re talking about non-Christian religions. Government helping people in any way should be limited, because we’ll make them reliant on government. Just like they’re reliant on walking on sidewalks and driving on streets and freeways. We shouldn’t regulate banks and businesses because that stifles productivity and growth, even when they’re laying off thousands of people just to make shareholders happy. Illegal immigrants are bad they sneak into the country seeking what all of our ancestors came looking for: opportunity, and yet they’re come in illegally and something should be done to solve the problem while still recognizing people want to come here. Muslims are bad because they want to kill us all, yet since it’s the largest religion on Earth, wouldn’t they have wiped us out by now if they’d wanted to, unless it’s just a very small number of extremists who want to do that? And somehow it’s okay to push for a constitutional amendment preventing gay marriage, but not okay for the Equal Rights Amendment to be adopted to actually constitutionally assert that women should be treated as equals in this society.
And both sides talk about respecting each other and having frank, open discussions. And both sides merely turn all discussions into rude shouting matches that achieve absolutely nothing.
Oh, I know none of it is really that simple, but all of this breaks things down to basics and asks really simple questions. The point is that neither side is “right.” Neither side is “wrong.” And neither side is as evil as someone might have you believe. The sooner we can get 539 people in Washington D.C. to understand that, the better for all of us.
See you tomorrow.