Monday, November 3, 2008

What Do You Want, and How Do You Want It?

Yes, I’ve been watching the U.S. election, but I’ve been keeping my mouth shut. I’m Canadian so it seems like it is none of my concern. So we’ll not discuss who should win.

But I do want to tell you, that what I find most irritating is the long, never abating, attention given to ‘spreading the wealth’ around. All I can think with impatience, is ‘What do you want, and how do you want it?’

Political science is not my forté, but this is how I see it.

When I was a child and asked why we got great huge boxes of free canned lunchmeat, I was told it was a gift from the Government. When I asked why cod-liver oil pills were distributed to each child every morning in school, this was spawned by the Government to make sure none of us got Rickets or other diseases from lack of sunshine. When I asked why I got a Child Allowance, I was told it was a gift from the Government.

When I asked who was tracking the movements of my dearest friend in Grade 1 when her parents separated and moved away and I knew not where, I was told that Government was tracking her. Through the intervention of Health Unit nurses, the Old School in consultation with her New School, and to ensure that her Allowance was paid to her parents, specifically for her needs – her physical location would be ‘absolutely’ verified, by the Government.

Man, that Government. It was looking after everyone everywhere. Good. Very Good.
No children hungry, no children with Rickets, no children missing.

So now, this is how I see spreading the wealth around. The Government can let us keep more of our tax dollars by slashing the special programs that track and support the needy. But when that happens, they force us to sate our own guilt with the inconvenience of canvassing and volunteerism.

Or, for the heartless, which are not part of this discussion, we can choke on our guilt and simply ignore the need of physically challenged individuals, or the poor or those in want while we count our extra shekels. But with no umbrella of Government support, then what happens?

Without government programs for those in need, our door bells and phones ring endlessly soliciting support for these people. Volunteerism becomes mandatory if you want a good work resume. And we live with the searing pain of our guilt if we don’t give and give and give some more. We are compelled to do door-to-door soliciting and canvassing even though we hate it. Still it is the only antidote for the guilt overwhelming us as we partake of our turkey dinner while thinking of those that have none. And always in the back of our minds, we cynically wonder how much of the gifts we give go to those private (non-profit – oh yeh??) organization’s top dogs and how much of it to those in need? And we further wonder how many ‘have’s’ are exploiting our generosity by going to food banks and suppers that are intended for those in need.

So me, I’m in favor of taking it off the top. Take it out of my income. Add it to my tax dollars. Just leave me alone to sleep sound at night without guilt and without having to go around knocking on doors, begging for money to recycle in ways that give me no assurance that the intent has become fixed reality. Let me find comfort in the fact that the Government has in place programs that will track the needs of individuals and ensure their needs are met. Someone has to do it and I would rather it were them.

Because they can more adequately locate those in need, more adequately track those that are missing, more adequately distribute lunch meat and Vitamin D to those that have none. I know they can do all this, cause they did it when I was a child. And I know they still have that ability if, in Australia, they can locate and fine those who do not vote!

So you see, the need is there. The need to spread the wealth around. The only question remaining is “What do you want and how do you want it?”
____

[I now want to say, but I won’t say it out loud – ‘this Palin moment’ of philosophical expression brought to you by Roberta.]

10 comments:

Julie Oakley said...

Absolutely agree with you. When I read about the woes of Americans without health insurance I am gobsmacked that the richest country on earth cannot provide free healthcare for all its citizens.

brad4d said...

What a validation of my latest post!
Your personal stories live so much more than my platitudes. Thanks Roberta!

Pauline said...

Palin is not, unfortunately, as articulate. In addition to your questions of "what do you want and how do you want it," I would add, "what is it you have an elected government for?"

poor grammar, I know but "for what do you have an elected government" sounds even more unanswerable.

Roberta S said...

Agreed,julie. It's a cryin' shame. Health care is a basic need. If government means keeping us safe, that means accessible and affordable medical care.
Thank you for commenting.

Yeh, Americans need someone to keep them safe at 3:00 a.m. if the 'red' phone rings but they also need someone to keep them safe when a stroke or heart attack strikes at 'any hour'!

Roberta S said...

Hi brad4d. Nice to 'see' you. I'm thrilled and flattered when we hap to pick similar topics and each express them in our own unique way.

I tell stuff 'Palin simple' but you put a lot of meat in a small space. As usual the post you refer to left me pondering and pondering. And I like a post that provokes deeper thoughts. I enjoyed reading your thoughts and thank you for reading mine.

Roberta S said...

pauline, this same shocking revelation struck me when I finished posting this rant. The thought about 'government's mandate'.

But like any 'business', so much thought is put into a mandate -- then it is filed away and never referred to ever again. I've worked in large institutions with a hundred employees or more and know from experience you can't find more than two in the mess that have any clue what the mandate is.

I'd like to get into government chambers and run the government-mandate-question past the politicians. 'Duh'

Scotia said...

Wonderful post, Roberta.

As an American, yes, it stuns me when I stop to think about it... about how rich this country is and about how many people in it are poor and without basic necessities. So, I try not to think about it too much not because I want to be callous and don't care, but because I care so much that if I think about it too much, it keeps me awake at night and sometimes worse. My heart breaks, I vacillate between despair and anger... anger at those taking my hard earned tax dollars (approximately 50% of my pay each paycheck) and somehow misappropriating it so that people are still living in cardboard boxes and being sick and not having enough to eat. I rage, ladies and gentlemen. Oh, I rage, but it is a mute rage, and it just smolders and burns inside me. What else can I do? I pay my taxes without a peep and try to tell myself that not ALL of it can be misused. I am proud to pay my taxes, and I have enough left over to live a comfortable life. What ticks me off is the misuse.

When I was unemployed, I had no health insurance. Then I was employed just part time. I'd say over the last decade, I've had health and dental insurance for about 4 of those 10 years. I thank whatever powers that be that I didn't get really really sick. So, I know what it's like to be without. And it is a constant struggle to live by faith, day by day, hoping things are going to be okay.

This country is full of people who refuse to be educated and refuse to look past their own front porches. I'm sorry for saying this because I don't mean to be offensive in the least, but when Obama "misspoke" about people in the "flyover" states clinging to their guns and their religion, I don't think he misspoke at all.

I'm just tired of the selfishness.

Roberta S said...

scotia, so well stated. We all feel heart-sick & dis-enchanted more often than not. I hate to go there as you do. Angry, discouraged, how can we help but be?

Always at the base of it all is government tax thievery, corruption ('misuse') and the crap that surrounds it. As a child, I was disenchanted as well. Thought government was good and powerful and protective. [Wrong] And yes, added to that is the new society that has completely forgotten that 'if ya' don't work, ya' don't eat!' Capable people, unwilling to work because it isn't always fun or what they want to do.

Thank you for visiting and thank you for commenting. The comments prove these are burdens we all share.

joared said...

I'm appreciative of views of our government from those living in countries other than USA, especially those with nationalized government-run systems we're considering.

Sadly, there's always going to be misuse and abuse whatever system is established. I always think of the quote that said words to the effect a culture or society is judged by history in terms of how they treated the least among them. History may not be very kind to us in the USA.

Roberta S said...

hi joared, thank you for that added discussion. I expect what you suggest about history may well be true.