Monday, May 3, 2010

Patriotism

I am a patriotic American.

I love this country and I love the rights afforded to me by living here. There is nowhere else on the face of this planet that I would rather be. Multiple generations of my family have served in the military and I'm proud to say that I am related to people who would give their lives for their convictions. We may not agree on every front, but we do agree that what we have here is worth defending. America is beautiful in landscape and in its diversity. This country is free because brave people have fought wars for it. Its majesty is intact because smart people have created legislation to preserve it.

Long story short, I'm a big fan of public services. The United States Armed Forces are a public service. If we are suddenly invaded by a foreign country, I fully expect them to do something about it, that's what I pay them for. When I get my paycheck every two weeks, I don't bemoan the amount that is subtracted for taxes because it goes toward things that make my life better.

If a tree fell through your house in today's windstorm, you would expect the publicly funded police and fire departments to come to your aid. If you needed information, you would expect to find it in the publicly funded library. If you choose to drive to work today, you would expect to get there on a road that was created and maintained by the publicly funded Department of Transportation. If it snowed five feet tomorrow, you would expect the publicly funded plow to come by and bail you out. You would bitch and moan if it didn't.

Have you ever taken your children to a park? Did they go to public school today? Have you ever been to the city swimming pools? Do you like that your neighbor can't build a 60 foot tall shrine to the devil in his front yard without violating zoning laws? That's kinda nice, isn't it?

When my next door neighbor thought it was a good idea to have 10 starving pit bulls that had attacked kids and barked incessantly, it was really nice to be able to call someone and have them tell her "NO."

Sorry sweetie, you can only mistreat 3 of those dogs within the city limits.

I'm not made of money. I am a taxpayer and a homeowner hit hard by the recession. However, I am perfectly happy to pay other people to do the work I'd rather not do. Our parks are awesome, I love them, but I don't want to mow them.

Why talk about all this now? Tonight the Tea Party is descending on city hall to introduce legislation to stop what they see as a UN takeover of Spokane. According to the proposed legislation, sustainability programs are akin to "undermining US sovereignty." You can read about that in The Inlander. The group seems to think that a sustainable Spokane means the "DoE telling you to move away from all water sources on your own property, the removal of private property rights, Regulatory taking, imminent domain issues, removing public access to public lands, the increase of livestock and farming regulation to the point of wiping it out entirely, the increasing of fuel prices, energy costs, taxes, etc, etc." (The quote is from an email sent to their group. The random capital letter is theirs, not mine).

Great email, by the way.

Aside from getting me thinking about the absence of logic and reasoning skills in these folks, it also got me thinking about the things I'm willing to support, and where I fall on the political spectrum.

I feel that it is valid to support programs that lead to a better, healthier, shared condition. We all live here together, after all. However, bigger is not necessarily better. I don't believe that the government should have the reach to able to tell anyone what to think or what to say, or to restrict access to information. The job of the government is to serve the people, not to control the people.

I believe in capitalism. If you built a successful business, good for you. If it's growth is unstoppable, then it just is, no government agency should be able to impede you. Conversely, if your business fails, then no government agency should prop you up.

Big surprise, I am a Libertarian. (I'm also an avid tea drinker, but I will not attend your "party.")


Side note: City Council is also voting tonight on whether to hire a second elevator inspector. I certainly hope that the next time I step into an elevator, it will have been inspected by a qualified person funded by my tax dollars. That's money well-spent.

I choose to live here, I pay to live here, therefore I expect livable conditions.

I don't see this as an invasion of my rights.

I will pull out my wallet to fund an education system that will produce intelligent, well-rounded individuals. Today's children are tomorrow's adults, and we will live alongside them. Wouldn't it be better if they had reasoning skills and a foundation of knowledge?

I will write you a check to care for, feed, spay and neuter animals at the Humane Society. An overpopulation of feral animals is good for no one. I saw that in Tijuana, and I didn't like it.

I will support legislation to improve drinking water and air quality. Not just because I like you and I want you to have a life free of dysentery, but also because "asthma costs more than $400 million every year in medical expenditures and lost productivity for the state."

That's my money...I repeat: that is MY MONEY

When you choose to ride your motorcycle without a helmet, I pay EMS to come scrape you off the pavement. Same thing when you don't wear your seat belt.

In fact, "Medical costs from collisions amount to more than $276 million each year in Washington. An unbelted vehicle occupant’s medical costs average $11,000 more per collision than those of a belted motorist." (According to the Washington Traffic Safety Commission)

When you pour your toxic chemicals in the grass, I pay medical bills for the un and under-insured. If you are the type who pours toxic chemicals into the grass, chances are that I'm already paying for you and your whole family.

Stop it.

As an American, you have the right to choose to do some pretty stupid things. I wish you wouldn't, but you probably will, and I will pay for you.

That's the trade off. That is the price I'm willing to pay to live in the greatest country in the world.

2 comments:

Linda said...

You're a great citizen. Thank you for that post.

PS: Can you send me the link to that page that determines your party? I'm just curious.

~ selina ~ said...

Here's the link for everyone:
http://www.theadvocates.org/quizp/index.html

It's the "world's smallest" political quiz. This isn't really how I determined my political views, but I do think it's very accurate.