John Colson: Hit and Run
November 19, 2010
What is it, exactly, that we, the citizens of the U.S.A., want from our government?
Listen to the right-wing chattering class on TV and talk radio, as well as recent election results, and you mainly gather that we want a government that does nothing to restrain corporate America from making as much money as it can, regardless of who gets crushed or mangled along the way.
We don’t want the government taking care of us. We can let the churches and relief organizations do that when disaster hits and people start dying from falling trees, disintegrating buildings, rising waters or inconvenient epidemics. The problem of endemic poverty? Well, that’s just a myth concocted by bleeding-heart liberals who want to turn this country into some socialistic, un-American bad place.
We don’t want government holding insurance companies’ collective feet to the fire, trying to ensure those companies cough back some of their profits and stop making rules that keep customers from demanding their proper benefits.
We apparently do want the government to pass laws permitting strangers to make decisions for half of us (meaning women, in case you don’t catch my drift) about how we deal with pregnancy, wanted or unwanted. Of course, it’s likely those strangers won’t be around to lend a hand when the baby is born and the grim realities of life start to shape that baby’s destiny in ways nobody wanted or even thought about.
And we do want our decisions made for us about how we choose to medicate ourselves when we get home from a hard day’s work and need a little time out – if our choice falls outside the boundaries of beer, hard booze and barbiturates.
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Oh, and we don’t mind if the laws created for our benefit by people with our best interests in mind are enforced by an ever-growing, more efficient and better-armed force of cops and soldiers. You may not like the look in their eyes when you cross their paths, but you sure do feel safer with them on the job, don’t you?
Of course, in the world I’m describing, everything will be okay because everybody will be white, working a good job, sending their kids to schools that include Bible classes but do not teach Darwinism, buying everything they need from WalMart and driving American-made, gas-guzzling steel juggernauts on government-subsidized highways.
Oh, wait, that already happened. Those who remember it refer to it in a dreamy, hazy way as “The Fifties” and believe fervently that if we can only return to that halcyon time, everything will be wonderful again.
Those too young to remember the time itself, but committed to the belief system of their elders are pretty sure they get the basics. And an awful lot of these young, cocksure talking heads sure as hell see nothing to argue with in a world where white guys rule, women stay quiet and at home, and people of color do the menial yard work and other, more brutal jobs.
Okay, if that’s the world we, as a nation, want for ourselves, then we should have it.
The ones who have stood in the way of the solidification of this “perfect” world should stand aside and let it happen.
Whatever comes of it certainly can’t be much worse than the world we already find ourselves in, beyond a little more pollution, a slightly wider divide between the haves and the have nots, a little more concentration of power and wealth in the hands of a very few living in gated communities and accompanied by large men with bulges under the arm of their expensive suits.
Oh, I know, some of us think that to give in and let things take that course would be a betrayal of our better instincts.
But just think, after enough time, enough ill treatment at the hands of the ruling elite, what do the commoners always do?
And won’t that be fun?