Taxes, Hate, and the Politics of Fear

Ok, first off I want to say that this is not a political blog. I hate politics, despise it, and inherently mis-trust just about anyone who is running for public office of any kind. But this is going to be a rambling, politically-oriented post, and then I hope to get back to my regular schedule of gardens, grandkids, and general other grumpiness not related to politics. If you stick till the end, God bless you. If not, I don’t blame you!

I’ve worked very hard NOT to watch TV, listen to ads, read much of the “mainstream” media, etc. It’s not that I don’t want to be educated but the hypocrisy and “smarm” factors make me physically ill. I don’t need that in my life. I try to do research on my own, look at voting records, do READ the language of initiatives and amendments (see post below), and then make up my own mind in a fairly rational way. I mean, yes, I have preferences, desires, judgments. We all do, it’s human nature. But, for example, if I really THOUGHT John McCain would be a better President/leader for this country than Barack Obama, then I would vote for him, even though Obama is a better speaker, younger, etc., etc., etc. I just don’t beleive that McCain is the right person to be president at this time.

People have made a big deal about his years of experience vs. Obama’s relative lack thereof, but, you know, unfortunately, when it comes to politics, past experience IS a good predictor of future outcome.

All John McCain’s past experience is wrapped up in war, from the time he went to war, was a prisoner of war, got home from the war, ran for office on his war record, and wants to keep us at war from now till there’s nothing left of this country but a smoking ruin. Sort of like the ‘Borg.

It’s all he knows and he’s too old to change now. Hey, not that I’m dissing old people. At 51, I’m well on my way. If I’m lucky and we don’t have a new Great Depression, and I manage to live long enough, I’ll be the same age he is right now, and looking back on THIS time with hopefully, a little rueful humor about how “het up” we were about all this.

So, if we want a leader who is going to do SOMETHING besides carry us into another war, we need to do something different. Do I need to give you the classic definition of insanity? No, I didn’t think so.

The trouble is, it is in the best interests of those who want to be in power to keep those they want power OVER in fear. I mean, who’s not quaking in their boots right now? Worry about “home value”, gas prices, food prices, job security, 401K security, bank security. The list goes on. What’s not to be afraid of? And all these politicians, they play us like banjos with overtight strings.

At the risk of sounding a bit Pollyanna-ish, I would advise you to quit watching the news as of right now. Turn off the TV. It’s nothing but a big box of bad news. I’m not saying become ignorant. But TV isn’t going to give you what you need. Watch less TV, do more research. Find good websites that offer hard facts on both sides of issues that are important to you. Read a little then quit for a while. Keep working, keep loving your families, keep doing what you’ve been doing, and try to make your life a little greener. Plant something edible (never hurts). Use Freecycle. Drive less and walk more. Go to the library. Help your neighbor with a project, or just say hello to your neighbor if you don’t want to go that far. Pick up some trash and throw it in the trash can when you’re out walking.

The thing is, it’s in THEIR best interests to keep you in fear. The less fear you accept, the more power you have. You’re less able to be manipulated, to be duped. If you need to, sit down and make a list of the things going on right now in this country that worry you. Take it to the limit….”What would happen if….I lost my house, the bank failed, I got laid off, etc.” Follow them out to a conclusion and make a contingency plan. Life feels much more in control when you have a contingency plan.

I learned about contingency plans when I was married to an abusive man. I learned how to think in terms of, “If he reacts this way, then I say THAT, but if he reacts THAT way, then I say THIS.” Thinking ahead kept me on my toes and got me out of that relationship relatively unscathed. Now, I tend to always think of a “worst case scenario” follow it out to its conclusion, and see what I would do (in my head). Then I work really hard to just get on with things and not think about what’s worrying me, but I feel better at least having some kind of a plan in the back of my head.

I think that’s one reason that I don’t panic in a crisis.

Taxes. Well, hell, don’t we all just love taxes? Right now, in Colorado, we are having a tax war. In comparison to other states, Colorado has relatively low taxes overall, especially property taxes. I have friends in other states whose property taxes run into the 5 figures. Now, I know they also have bigger houses than I do, but still, our property taxes have been under $1,000 since we moved into this house 6 years ago. WELL under $1,000.00. In this day and age, that’s pretty amazing.

Right now, Colorado Springs (about 50 miles north of me) is one of the fastest growing areas in the country. It’s also home of F@cus on the F@mily, and more rich Republicans than you can shake a stick at, which is why I could never live there. In Colorado, we have this thing called TABOR or “Tax Payer’s Bill of Rights”. Sounds great doesn’t it? And, admittedly, it’s one of the reasons that taxes are lower here. But, as of this writing, the government offices in Colorado Springs are now only open 4 days a week. They haven’t hired any police or firemen in a number of years. The county that Colorado Springs is in, El Paso, pays significantly less for social service workers than this county, and Pueblo is known for having a dearth of good-paying jobs. Nobody wants to raise taxes, but bridges are collapsing, roads are falling apart, the schools buildings are falling down around the kids and I think Colorado Springs just had its 50th murder this year.

What do you think taxes are FOR? Let me be clear, I sure don’t want more money taken out of my check, no. BUT, yes, I want decent roads, and I want street lights at night, and I want water service, and I want an INFRASTRUCTURE, dammit–police, and firemen, and dogcatchers. And so, if that’s where my money is going to go, then fine.

Do you think these people would be happier if all these services just divided their expenses to run everything by the number of people living in the county and sent everyone a bill? No, I don’t think so. Sometimes people can be so stupid.

And finally, hate. I saw Bill Clinton on The View this week. They were asking him about what he thought of the 2 Presidential candidates, and he said something that really stuck with me. He said, “I don’t know when it happened in this country that you have to find or say something BAD about the person you’re not going to vote for…” or words to that effect, I am paraphrasing. But he’s right. Just because I choose one candidate over another doesn’t mean that the one I don’t choose is the Antichrist. We don’t have to justify our choices by “demonizing” the other guy. Use your VOTE to speak for you, not hateful words and useless argument.

There’s so much HATE flying around now. Not just the politicos for each other, but trickling right down to people in offices and in neighborhoods. Yes, it’s nice to be with like-minded people who agree with your point of view. But sometimes you learn more when you hang out with people who DON’T agree with you.

I’ll go into some of my more “woo-woo” beliefs later, after I’ve calmed down about fertilized eggs. But for now, I’m turning off the TV, shutting down the computer, and I’m going to do something radical–take my wife to bed!

Ya’ll play nice–after all, it’s only a borrowed sandbox…

GG

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2 thoughts on “Taxes, Hate, and the Politics of Fear

  1. This is one of the best political posts I’ve ever read. That’s probably because I totally agree with you…funny how things work out that way!

    You’re one smart chick, GG!

  2. What a wonderful post GG.

    I agree our taxes are low. I pay under $500 a year on my property taxes. But I’d be ok with paying more if I needed to.

    Colorado Springs is fast becoming our most violent city around here.

    And you know, I was very happy when I didn’t watch the news or read the papers. I am non political. It’s not that I want to be ignorant, but I’m tired of the hate too. I don’t like what I see around me. All I can do is keep my own house clean.

    Happy weekend. Go check out the Aspens. It’s time.

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