Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Mighty Hand of ... Caesar

There is little that sickens me more than to see photos in the newspaper of legislators slapping each other the “high five” or patting one another’s behinds as the governor or president signs a tax increase into law (most recently in Arkansas). In the case of Arkansas, the latest tax increase on tobacco is just that: a tax increase. The funds are not attached in any way, so we are completely at the mercy of the legislature and the governor as to where this money will actually end up. And political promises being what they are, consider that the grocery tax is still there in spite of talk and promises during a political campaign. And make no mistake: this government would much rather see you go without than they.

Having said this, however, I find myself becoming increasingly agitated at the ever-expanding, yet inconsistent, role of government in daily life. Take, for instance, the recently passed tobacco tax increase. Out of one side of the mouth, the government wants us to stop smoking. Out of the other side, however, this money is already spent (at least in the governor’s own mind) on new or expanded health-related programs (it must be noted, however, that the money will simply be collected. These programs do not currently have legislation to fund or create them). According to proponents of this tax increase, “all” Arkansans will benefit, yet only a few Arkansans are being burdened with the responsibility of paying for it. And all the while, these same proponents are secretly hoping all tobacco usage will stop? Puhleez.

An adult does not have to wear a motorcycle helmet, but this same adult must wear a seat belt when riding in an automobile. A parent can no longer buy an off-road ATV or motocross motorcycle for a child under 12 (or parts for already-owned bikes!), but these same parents can buy their 16-year-old a street-legal “crotch rocket”, a racing style motorcycle that has power to spare, so that “Junior” can go tearing down the road at 100mph and put MY life, or the lives of those whom I love, in danger with his youthful exuberance, testosterone, and corresponding stupidity.

I am a Republican in a sea of Democrats. It is clear that I can climb aboard their life raft but only if I am willing to compromise what I believe for the sake of “unity”. My thoughts and opinions are not welcome, I am not allowed my say (except on a “blog” few read anyway), and I effectively have no representation because I will write to a state or US representative or senator and “might” get a response several months later, if at all.

I am surrounded by abortion proponents who refuse to acknowledge the certain reality about life but will, instead, celebrate the “right” to destroy that life. Yes, you have a right to have an abortion (even while refusing to exercise a right not to reproduce), but you do not have the right to buy your 11-year-old child an off-road vehicle. And we are reaching a critical state in which it may soon become a government “obligation” (read, against my Republican will) to sustain one’s “right” to destroy a human life, even if unborn, by offering full funding (Obama’s executive order) against my wishes and in spite of my objections on any grounds.

Additionally, we may well be coming to a point in government services in which artificial birth control will also be deemed a “right” so much so that government would financially obligate itself to pay for it, but only for poor folks.

In the midst of the gloom and doom of the worst recession to hit this nation in 25 years (or since the Great Depression, depending on who is doing the talking), our state legislature gives itself a raise with the governor’s blessing and all but gives the people of Arkansas the finger while it does so. And then to “help” us, they raise taxes on tobacco in conjunction with a pending federal tobacco tax increase, and create new spending programs to “save lives” even though such salvation does not include unborn (read, unwanted) children.

This is only a drop in the bucket. I am not sure how the immediate future is going to unfold, but I am quite certain that government will soon own us all lock, stock, and barrel unless or until we draw a line in the sand. The only ones who will have any freedom will be the very rich and the very elected. The worst part is that a complacent electorate will continue to reelect these who are slowly and surely chipping away at what we once knew as “free to live our own lives”.

Silly people.

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