The votes are in, Election Day is over, the people have decided. Whose idea was that? To let the average Joe decide what happens? It seems like a huge mistake.
I don’t know yet how I feel. I read a blogpost yesterday where a guy compared voting angry to dieting. He said that we get angry with ourselves and start a diet or exercise routine, which goes well for the first few days, until we realize that our diet and exercise just makes us more angry or depressed as we do not live up to the goals we make for ourselves.
Voting is similar – we are angry with the way things are going, we don’t like what the party in power is doing so we decide to ‘stick it to ’em’ and vote for the other guy. But is that the best way to vote? No. People should always vote FOR something and not AGAINST something. You should vote for candidates and policies in which you believe, not simply against candidates that you do not like. If the best thing a candidate can say is that they are not the other guy, that’s no incentive to vote for him.
One thing that really bothers me in the wake of Election Day is the way people are talking about taxes. The bottom line is no one really likes paying taxes, no one likes giving their hard-earned money away. But living in society that’s part of being adult. Nothing is free. If you want Government services, you have to pay for them, and that’s what taxes are. If you like paved roads, if you like Fire and Police protection, you need to pay taxes. Candidates who only talk about cutting taxes really make me angry – because they talk about cutting taxes, which always sounds good, people always want to pay less money, but these candidates never talk about which services will be cut to afford a tax cut. You can’t have the same amount of services when you’re paying less for them. Government doesn’t have clearance sales.
Do you want to cut the National Defense budget? Probably, just give every citizen a gun and what need do you have for a national army? Do you want to cut the National Science Foundation or NASA budget? I have heard a lot of people saying this is wasted money, what do we get out of it? What people don’t realize is that these budgets do lead to scientific discoveries that we benefit from. Do you like the Internet? Do you like Tang? Do you like pens that can write upside down? Thank the Sciences!
In Washington State (where I grew up), there was an Initiative 1107, which, according to the Seattle Times is an “End to the Candy Tax”. That’s just ridiculous! A Candy Tax? Really? There is no Candy Tax, there is a Sales Tax. There is sales tax on things that you buy, and candy is something that you buy. There are a few exemptions to this sales tax, though, on ‘essential food items’ like bread, milk, vegetables. Candy is by no definition an ‘essential food item.’ But the rhetoric of a Tax on Candy outweighed the logic of realizing that taxes are necessary.
Taxes are like insurance. No one wants to hope or believe that they will need the Police or the Fire. But that doesn’t mean you don’t have a Police or Fire Dept. You pay them, you maintain them, so that you can use them when you need them.
So, when you want to talk about cutting taxes, lowering the Budget, or whatever, please be prepared to back that up with concrete suggestions on what services will be cut to make up for the tax cuts. And if you really believe that the Government spends too much on the Science Budget or anything else, that’s okay. That’s your opinion, make that your political stance, and I’m okay. But don’t just tell me “Taxes are too high.” That means nothing.
I also had a friend today on his Facebook status say, “Being the crazy moderate that I am, I am so glad that no one party controls all the branches of the government right now. Maybe people will like, you know, listen to each other now.” That is a wonderful concept, and that’s inherently the strength of our Government with its checks and balances. But, maybe I’m a bit too cynical to believe that this working together across party lines is possible. Especially with what I’ve been hearing for the last few years. It seems like we are becoming more and more divided, rather than hoping to find commonalities or compromises. I would like to see people working together, rather than parties. When did politics cease being about people and become more about parties?