This year I got my flu shot from the government. Free of charge and without any hassle. Remarkably, not a single screaming headline about power-grab, wasted-funds, or infringement-of- personal-rights.
You see, this is “big government” at work working. Had there been a broken needle or a bad reaction, that might have triggered the media to rush out to my local pharmacy with their hungry investigative-reporting skills. Sorry, but I and scores of other seniors that day were served with admirable care, thank you very much.
Here’s the point. Americans have been angry with “big government” ever since King George III. We pride ourselves in being free; rugged individuals; molded in the tall-in-the-saddle image of the Kit Carsons, Buffalo Bills, and Clint Eastwoods of our frontier imagination. As some candidates put it to the delight of the crowds: “Government get off our back.”
Sounds perfectly American. Until we look for big government to come to our aid in natural disasters, food inspections, clean air controls, highway construction, school subsidies, college loans, and multi-million-dollar grants to zealous inventors and innovators. That’s when we see our tax money for what it is: The rent we pay for living in a country.
Why then this persistent yet inconsistent grudge…? The answer back is: We’re not against government, just bad government and bad leadership. Which has the sound of teens trash talking their parents. Parents and governments aren’t perfect; but the reality is they’re indispensable. So while kids and citizens have the right to complain, concurrently they have the obligation to support.
If we do, there comes this epiphany of sorts. Like the home-team fans in the stands, there’s this realization that booing every player and jeering every miscue may satisfy our anger, but contribute nothing to our victory. These players — like the parents and the government — aren’t trying to lose. Too often, though, too many of us almost want them to….
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