Silly Season

Our Silly Season is almost over, although it never really ends, it just dies down a bit.  Politics has come to infect our country in a very unique way.  Not that the ordinary individual ever gives politics, as a study in the affairs of humankind, much thought.  No, the American brand of politics is more of a popularity contest.  We care about the package and not the content.  We like our politicians to strike grand poses while spouting wonderful phrases of purple prose.  No child should starve.  Yes no child should starve.  But what does that mean?  Is it the case that the starving child’s mother or father cannot provide sustenance for said child?  Or is it the case that the mother or father won’t provide for said child?  What to do in any event?  Perhaps the child should be made a ward of the state and placed in an institution.  Ah, but we are told that a child needs at least one parent.  Well, maybe providing some sort of welfare payment to at least one parent, usually the mother, will feed the child.  But what happens if the parent doesn’t buy food or the right kind of food?

I see the signs on grocery store shelves that indicate what products can be purchased with an EBT debit card, better known as food stamps.  Potato chips are not on the list nor are white potatoes.  Items such as lettuce and tomatoes are on the list.  One can buy ground beef but not steak or bacon.  Almost any chicken, whole or part, as long as it is fresh can be bought with the card.  Well, you get the idea.  After years of handing out money in a most indiscriminate way our politicians have decided how that money should be used.  Ah, not the child should not go hungry.  Of course one needs to know how to cook or else the child will eat everything raw.  And the money paid into that EBT card is a monthly allotment that does not vary according to the number of children in that family.  Nor does it say who should eat the food bought with the card.  So if the parent using the card has very poor budgeting skills the before the end of the month is up the family runs out of food.

All the trivial details, trivial only to those who are not concerned with the details of living, are for the little people to care about.  After all, doesn’t government on all levels have people who will look after trivial details?  The promise of a chicken in every pot depends on who is providing the chicken and who has a pot.  If you don’t have a pot will the little people let you have a chicken?  And even if you do have a pot will the little people let you have a chicken?  Dealing with government employees is not always a pleasant experience.  You may live in a community where the ideals of the city is that the home owners should create an urban forest.  Sounds great, keeps the heat down a degree or two during the hot summers, helps combat air pollution, and beautifies the city.  But in order to control that urban forest the city needs to hire graduates in biology to supervise that forest.  In particular, any maintenance  to be done on that forest.  And as all good cities do, they charge a fee for their foresters to visit your property, if you can get them out of their office, and sign off on your plans for tree trimming and or removal.  Fill out the form, describe what is to be done, and they will get back to you.  And by the way, the work must be done by a professional.  If that tree limb is four inches or more, you will need their permission and a permit for a professional to cut it off.  Well, with such good intentions as those, is it a wonder that people decide not to prune their trees.  Let the branches fall on the house or power lines.  Let that tree become infested with termites and carpenter ants.  As always, the best of intentions have undesirable consequences.

Many of us decry welfare and government waste unless it is our welfare and we benefit from that waste.  Yes, the unemployed should get a job, do something productive.  But don’t cut the funding that gives me a job or I’ll be unemployed.  Of course the work I do is important.  I’m an administrator in a public school and I administrate all the various programs that our governments fund.  this is important work, it’s for the children.  Yes, yes, but what are some of these programs?  It is important that children have a hot lunch and I oversee how those funds are spent.  I make sure the menus are correct and that cleanliness standards are posted.  I make sure that all the textbooks are current and properly assigned and accounted for.  I also make sure that they are current, we can’t have children using last year’s books.  Why, without me children couldn’t learn.  I seem to recall that at one time we were a nation of one room school houses with no administrators.  Gosh, we must have been terribly under educated.  But at least when we graduated from high school we could read, write, and do simple math correctly.  I guess we were just backwards by modern standards.

Now days I am amazed at how expensive our modern liberal and progressive government has become.  I am amazed at how intrusive our government has become in our private lives.  I am amazed at the legal zeal our government exhibits when it brings to justice those who would defraud the consumer, unless, of course, it is a too big to fail bank or corporation.  Did you benefit from insider information in trading securities on the stock market?  Then, unless you are a member to congress or certain executive positions in the government, you will be prosecuted to the fullest extent.  We have become a government for the elite, run by the elite, and only of the elite.  The rest of us are peons and do not count except when election time comes around.  Of course if there were no elections I don’t think anyone would really notice.  We keep electing the same elite every time.  And the same elite promise us a chicken in every pot.  But only a few pots ever get any chicken.

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