… this MEME showed up online, and I need to address it. It was shared by a friend – and it apparently originated with a group called The Revolution, which has a presence on Facebook. Its cover picture is of the snake flag with the words “Join or Die” that we’ve all seen… its profile pic is that of a drawing of a man presumably from the American Revolution Era, pointing out of the pic in an UNCLE SAM pose, asking those who see it to join the Tea Party.
In general, I have a real problem with MEME type items. They tend to be too simplistic, too much likely to treat the issue it addresses as black and white. They tend to be inflammatory – this one here isn’t too bad that way… and they tend to leave little room at all for debate .. as this one clearly dares anyone to do so.
I pick up my laptop with the intent of sharing some thoughts about each of the five matters here.
The first one: I do not believe we necessarily want to make the poor prosperous — there are those that do, and they may be over shooting their hopes, but I am still of the idea that the government can be of some assistance in giving a leg up. It is in the second part of this statement that I see trouble. It is ridiculous to say that a wealthy person will be turned OUT of prosperity by asking them — by legislation or any other way — to give up some of their wealth. I do not see the government — or ANYONE – expecting a millionaire to become a thousandaire. Let me make a specific example. Let’s say there’s a guy out there who is worth a couple four million. He pays taxes of a certain amount, but hey, he is still worth a cool chunk of change that still qualifies him as being a millionaire. It seems to me he will not be turned into one of those who isn’t prosperous.
The second one: At first blush, I see this as a generality that just can’t be argued. Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. If I freely give someone a gift, I had to work first (in some way) to acquire it…. but then, hey, look. I DID receive something. I got paid for a job that allowed me buy that gift. So, I have demonstrated that this point is indeed debatable. I so certainly hope that it is okay to give someone a gift, no strings attached… and that it is okay to use what I have to give such a gift.
The third one: This one is the most solid of the five. It is the government’s job to collect taxes (taking from one) and then use that revenue (giving it to someone). I pay my taxes, and my government then dispenses that money to someone to build a road, a school, raise an army … you can make your own list. The trouble is that sometimes this money is collected from the taxpayer (me) and given to those who already HAVE ample supply — that’s the point of those who are angered by the subsidies given to large corporations – or even individuals – who already have a great deal of money in their own coffers. (An example from Minnesota: A couple has been discovered who have been collecting welfare payments in the tens of thousands of dollars while they live on their yacht in Florida, away from their home in Minnesota. Make of that what you want to.)
The fourth one: This is such a simplistic statement – and I think it is fair to say that this one and the fifth statement have an alarmist tone to them. Anyway, does it assume here that there are those who are asking someone with 20 million dollars to give up 19 million so we can create 19 more millionaires? That’s ridiculous, of course. I suspect there are few saying such a thing. I also wonder if this statement is assuming there is a finite amount of riches out there. Not so sure about that one. It seems that one hundred years ago, our gross national product was a certain amount, fifty years ago, it was more, and right now, there’s more yet. Mathematically, this statement may be correct, but the global economy is simply too liquid, too fluid, to fit this statement with too much reality attached to it.
The fifth one: Again with a simplistic statement. Where are the statistics to say that its half this and half that? Is this statement claiming that there is no validity to the famous 2 percent? My own thought is that statistics are like Mark Twain claimed – there are lies, damn lies, and statistics. Should there be motive to work? Oh yes, no problem there….. and I do agree that we are getting a segment of our population that see no sense in working. We indeed need to face that issue somehow.
AND THERE YOU HAVE IT…. and you know what? As I look at what I’ve written, it occurs to me that we have a very typical family trait here. We have the older sibling who has something that the littler sibling wants. In an ordinary world, the older one would see the sense of choosing to share – if even for a short time. I would hope then that the littler one is appreciative. But sometimes, that just doesn’t happen…. maybe the older one is selfish and won’t share his jacket for no other reason than “I don’t feel like it”. And maybe the little one doesn’t really need that particular thing that the older one has and throws a little tizzy about it. In both cases, we see selfishness as the motive for acting that way.
Then its time for the parent to step in .. there are no pat answers to the situation… there are no quick fixes, but the parent has to make a call. Ideally, with some decent parenting, the two siblings will work it out.
So, sometimes the parent … or the government … has to step in. Hopefully, this is going to happen as little as necessary. Sometimes we get parents who are too involved…and that’s where some think our government is… and sometimes we get those who think the parent needs to do more…. and that’s where others are regarding our government.
In the ideal world, the siblings would work it out, but we all know it is not an ideal world.
Do we expect our kids to share? Do we occasionally need to step in and take care of things when they don’t?
Yes, we expect them to share, preferably freely… and to not be greedy, preferably freely … and yes, we need to step in at times in such a way that we are effective parents.
And that’s the real thing that can’t be argued…..