A small town somewhere
In 1995 I ran for alderman in my small town, and like all other alderman running for office, I went out in my ward and canvassed for votes. I came upon one man outside doing some yard work, and I went up to him, introduced myself, and asked him for his vote. He looked at me straight in the eye, like all men do in my neck of the woods, and asked, “If I vote for you, what will you do for me?” I looked him straight in the eye and said, “Well, probably not a thing.” As a novice I didn’t realize people expected you to do something especially for them. How about, I’ll give you 40 acres and a mule if you vote for me, and if I’m elected. I thought government took care of those things that people couldn’t do for themselves; like, taking care of city roads & alley ways, providing police protection, fire protection, water treatment, waste water treatment, community development planning, maintaining & improving the city airport, maintaining the municipal buildings, and anything else that had to do with the business of city government. Then, there were employees to pay and insure, and equipment to purchase and maintain. The list goes on. I learned a lot about myself and local government during my 10 years as alderman, so I am thankful to the people of the 2nd ward for the opportunity they gave me to represent them in the city government of our fine town.
I remember reading a number of years back (maybe 1972 or 1973) in one of my elective sociology courses at Eastern Illinois University, my Alma Mater, that city inhabitants across the globe are more similar to one another than they are to their country cousins residing in their own country. From the first time I came across it, it registered true according to my life experiences and instincts. It was like a neon light lit up in my mind and flashed yes, yes, the author is correct. From my early adult experience and interaction with others, I concluded my rural way of life and opinions didn’t match those of my city cousins. After the course ended I moved on with my life, but I never forgot that one item written in my sociology text.
Thirty-seven years have passed since I took my sociology class at Eastern IL using my veteran’s state scholarship and federal V.A. benefits. Through the good will of tax paying citizens of America and a state scholarship funded by the good people of my home state, I have benefited from their hard earned tax dollars. Without those benefits I would never have earned my degrees of learning and graduated from college. Whether they got their money’s worth is debatable, and I shall leave that to others who are acquainted with me. It could go either way.
President Obama and the Democrat lawmakers are about to make sweeping changes in the size & power of our government. In my feeble attempt to understand what’s happening, I hearken back to my old college days when I studied sociology and found city dwellers were more like city dwellers worldwide than like their country cousins in their own nation. As a country cousin myself that got me a thinkin’. I asked myself this question: “Self, why did we elect an individual who is spending money faster than we can print it? My children and grandchildren will be in debt up to their ears. How can they ever repay it?” As the President stated, paraphrasing: I won the election so I get to do what I think is best for America. He’s got a point. Do Americans really believe we can spend ourselves rich? If so, I am thinking about trying it just to check it out.
We know from our study of history that our constitutional forefathers were very suspicious of governments in general, believing all governments were inclined to become despotic over time. Their solution to this tendency used a cumbersome system of checks and balances of three branches to slow down onerous laws that overburden the citizenry. The people themselves were to be the final check and balance if all else failed to curb the avarice quest for power that tempts all governments. Our forefathers saw fit to include the 2nd amendment where American citizens are given the right to bear arms. It wasn’t put in there just for the hunters. I understand how dangerous weapons are and how fearful people are of the damage they can inflict, but it’s in our constitution just the same, and wishing it away won’t nullify its existence, or the statement it makes to citizens that the price for freedom is never free and is often paid for in blood. As a peace loving man, my point is that our forefathers feared unrestrained governments who aren’t tethered by the moral and spiritual character of its citizens. Without the character of our founding fathers, we are in danger of being led astray.
The Big & Little
Why do dense populated centers in America support one candidate while rural areas support another. Generally speaking big requires much more of everything to keep it from breaking apart into smaller pieces. If it breaks apart into pieces, something has gone wrong and the cohesion holding it together will burst into chaos. Chaos is always dangerous for people as it leads to fear, possible destruction, and even death. As populated centers become stressed, they become more and more vulnerable to a loss of cohesion and breaking apart. Chaos immediately follows and people want to avoid that condition at all cost. To avoid chaos, the big require a complex organization of systems, leaders, and safeguards to maintain wholeness. As big needs big of everything to keep it together, and little needs less, then big will vote differently from less.
Everyone understands the price city dwellers pay when the trash is not collected by the striking garbage workers, when the city buses don’t run. or when the occasional riot breaks out. Uncertainty about the future worries everyone. We all want assurances that everything will be all right, but no-one or no government can promise a safe tomorrow or a life without problems and risks. Even if it were possible to do so, the unintended consequences of such a life may be more destructive than the uncertainty. One thing is for certain, no matter what happens tomorrow, calm will always return because it must. Until that time, those of us who are strong, must resist our federal government’s propensity to saddle us with a big bureaucracy that will gobble up the wealth and energy of our nation. People cannot be free if they spend all their time and money propping up a big, bloated government. At the end the day, if that happens, people will stop being productive and just put in their time. All Americans understand it is not fair for the workers to get paid the same as the slackers. garland dale