Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy 4th of July!

Blog 4th of July

Happy Independence Day.   I do wonder if this day is more about getting to blow up some gunpowder and have a cookout or if anyone really has a concept of independence any more.  We are now paying more taxes than ever before, have less voice in Government decisions and more rules and regulations to follow than humanly possible. The promises made to the public, mean nothing.  

To put this into a writer’s perspective, let’s metaphor our current situation.    

I sit down to write a book.  I decide that I can delegate each chapter to be written, setting forth rules to keep the writer of each chapter safe.  I spend a year thinking up an exciting name for the book.  I study several random books from the discount shelf to determine what I want the book to be about.  I begin marketing the book to the public to stir excitement and build demand for my book.

I come up with a pretty cover and show it around promising that this is the greatest book ever written, and then after the various denominations of potential readers protest my words, I say that I meant the greatest book written in the last few years. 

 I tell one group that the book is about them and it will change their lives for the better.  When I address the next group I promise to keep them in mind and explain the benefits of reading the book will far outweigh any money I ask them to spend on it.  The next group point out that I have not actually explained what the book is about.  I label them terrorists and deride them for not having faith that my book is the most exciting read since Sherlock Holmes.

The chapters arrive, and I will not bother to look at them, having faith that all will be clear if they are just published.  Hundreds of extra chapters flood my desk from people wanting to try their hand at writing.  I include them and publish a ten book series.   I point out to subsequent groups that anyone incapable of understanding the book (now ten separate 400k hardcover books titled with obscure passive phrases), is simply incapable of reading and I vow to cure their affliction with free books for those who qualify.

Nobody will qualify. I will now charge them double but offer to include a pamphlet explaining how much they need my book for free. I will also attach another pamphlet and send out two separate letters advising them that the second pamphlet explains how to use the first pamphlet and one side of one letter will be written in Spanish for the assistance of those of Latino decent.  The money they spend will be used to hand out free books to any non-English speaking countries and I will personally tour these places to show my charitable side.  The books will only be printed in English.  I will show shock and regret that the free books were used to start fires for cooking but will also mention how very useful they have proven to be.

I will wrap a detailed statistical analysis showing how vital and useful these books have become and lobby for them to be required for safety in every home.  When I am criticized that they are unreadable, I will pretend astonishment and indignation.  I will make it a law that these books are read and used as life reference for all situations. 

When it is finally proven the books are utter trash, I will promise to write a better book next time.  I will begin marketing the next book.


Ok this was a bit tongue in cheek about how independence run amok doesn’t look so pure these days.  I am not a radical sign toting anti-government hater of freedom.  I simply look around and wonder where freedom went?  I don’t feel that much good has been accomplished in the last 20 years and I am wondering how to ever fix what has slipped away.  Most ideas have good intentions at their base.  But then special interests come into play and the Good Idea seems to get bogged down in lots of not so good ideas.

 The government seems very intent on bailing out wealthy criminals and imposing impossible rules on random citizens.

  I feel suffocated and small business seems to be at war with expensive regulations that have little purpose other than to drive them out of business. (Look who lobbied for the regulations, and there is a striking pattern that explains most of the pork belly gobbledygook we seem resolved to keep stacking higher each year.)

 Doctors are not in charge of a patient’s health.

 Teachers are not in charge of the classroom.

 Once your money disappears into the electronics of a bank, it really doesn’t belong to you any longer.

  We are required to purchase all sorts of insurance, which rarely pays what you expect, and can randomly drop you for all sorts of reasons and constantly changes the rules after purchase. But you are required to purchase this service, or break the law, which makes it a tax.  

Being lazy is rewarded.  Working is punished.  Saving is punished.

 The other guy is always responsible for the stupid people and more rules will make stupid people safe.  If stupid person finds a way to be ‘injured’ anyway, there will be a lawsuit against whoever owns the place he picked to be stupid.  (Seriously – people stuff their face get fat and sue the person who sold them the food? And Win? People trespasses, into a person’s house with the intent to do them harm, and fall down while still doing that, and sue the victim? And Win?) Who wrote these books?   

We are free to worry about what we want to worry about.  Do be careful where you voice specific worries.  You still have the right to say some things that are worrisome, but we all know that unless you are wealthy, the squeaky wheel routine isn’t financially practical.  Being arrested when a peaceful protest turns ugly is expensive.

I guess today, I just want to acknowledge that the cost of freedom is about more than a war fought 200 years ago against people with who have different words to God Bless America.   It is about more than the lives lost saving the world in the 1940’s.  It is even about more than the young men and women fighting and dying and giving up bright futures to serve this country in an unforgiving land this very second. 

Don’t misinterpret what I am saying.  All of those things are part of the whole and should be honored.

My point is it is also about small wars right here.  If freedom really matters, it matters on the small scale as well.  It matters that our rights and our constitution have been breached and overrun with, boring but important little, mandates, regulations and political drivel that is making that pursuit of happiness less available. 

There are times, Government is needed to step in and solve some problems.  We need them to help mobilize disaster relief of course, but I am less certain that I have much appreciation for their apparent need to give 70 year old women body cavity searches because they wanted to fly somewhere to see the grandbabies.  I do get the need for prisons, but I am less happy that so much space is used up for people guilty of addiction that the murderers get a smaller amount of time to make room.  If the addicts are not violent, let them be free to be addicts instead of a tax burden.  Do we own anything if not our bodies?  Not these days, if you want to get on a plane or happen to have a prescription classed as controlled or need some test more often than average Joe Statistic, this becomes pretty clear. 

Do we own anything?  Is your house yours or can a bank foreclose on you when you have made all payments after they were bailed out for billions in shady loan practices?

Can you pass your life’s work on to your children or will they have to sell the family farm to pay the estate taxes? (be sure to die in a convenient year)

 Did you save for your children’s college only to have the account emptied by identification theft or worse, a tax lien that is an unfixable government error?

 Did you lose your right to work(any professional license revoked), drive to work(license suspended), hunt to keep from starving or even leave the country for your job(passport denied), for child support arrearage, because you were injured or laid off? (non-custodial equals deadbeat with no recourse and no right to ever be so sick you can’t work.) Did you discover you have no real-world ability to protest or even mention that the children don’t actually have any right to the money, because it is custodial spouse support renamed?  (Common sense would tell any normally intelligent person that if you keep someone from working, they will have no ability to meet the government mandated obligation. The Bradley Bill disagrees – thanks Hillary and Bill.)  

No, we have lost something somewhere.

  We are free to pick a TV show to watch that has been surveyed and catalogued by regulations.

We can pick a hobby if it does not lead to unreported income or barter.

 We pick who we marry. (Well, provided they meet government approval which can be revoked at any time should there be any other people who religiously don’t quite approve.)

We can pick what we grow in our gardens, provided the plants are not banned by the government as nuisance weeds like thistle.

We can pick what we have for dinner, provided it meets government approved labeling laws and isn’t imported from certain places the government doesn’t approve of and isn’t thought to be unsafe. (You know like haggis, prosciutto, French cheeses, and a whole list of other things we are not allowed to buy.)

We can pick what we wear, provided it isn’t deemed offensive, or violate laws on exposure of certain bits. (Breasts are, of course, offensive, unless they are on men – and Moobs may be shown almost anywhere. Babies may be fed discretely)

Maybe if we all were fighting a little harder to keep a bit of common sense, it would show more honor to the many that have died in the pursuit of freedom.   

So again jumping to metaphor, because this is a writer blog and I like to Show, not tell….

This evening as you light that fuse, a symbol of freedom, a symbol of who we think we are, do remember this.

You just spent money for fireworks.

You will light the fuse and walk away.

You will watch the thing put on a big display, say wow, and then be left in darkness.

Fireworks are taxed and are being used as a symbol to celebrate freedom from hidden taxes.

You are paying for Fireworks with the money you are allowed to keep after they take taxes out of your labor (Days of your life, serving your government without compensation or choice), they are again taxed and it is included in the cost, and you will again pay sales tax to honor a country founded on no taxation without representation.  (A symbolic trinity of contradiction)

It is your right to mix alcohol and explosives and not care that you don’t see the irony in having to put on a seatbelt to gather the elements of potential disaster.

Please have a safe and happy Independence Day.