September 23, 2010

Over the past generation I”€™ve watched most of the nation’s manufacturing base dismantled, boxed, and shipped overseas while I had no say in the matter. I”€™ve been forced to fund large-scale foreign wars as I scrambled to pay the electric bill. I”€™ve seen the government do nothing as the nation’s southern border crumbled and at least a dozen million individuals who don”€™t speak my language and view me as a historical adversary have been welcomed, in large part at my expense. And due to toxic wastefulness from both major parties, my one-child family “€œowes”€ approximately $150,000 on the federal deficit, while we”€™ve at least been frugal enough that our personal debt is less than five Gs.

So I”€™m supposed to be happy, eat shit, keep playing the game, and pretend I”€™m not being used?

That’s simply not the way my guitar strings are strung. In the course of human events, it becomes necessary to stop rolling over and playing dead.

Still, I instinctually fear the taxman’s wrath so much that I”€™m self-defeatingly honest on my 1040s and always file them via Certified Mail to ensure there are no misunderstandings. Despite this, over the past year both the IRS and Georgia’s tax department have forced me to prove that I”€™ve already paid them with checks and money orders that they”€™ve already cashed. Both agencies have accused me of never sending specific checks and money orders, forcing me to spend time tracking down the canceled items, scanning the front and back, and sending my overlords proof, again by Certified Mail, that I actually already paid them via Certified Mail.

So not only am I forced to pay government workers”€™ bloated salaries, things have devolved to the point where I am also now forced to do their jobs for them.

It reminds me of jail. In Portland, the holding cells have electronically operated solid-wood doors rather than open-air steel bars. After your brief daily “€œwalk time”€ outside of your cement crib, the guard pushes a button from his control tower to click open your cell door. You then walk inside your cell and are forced to close the door and lock yourself inside.

I”€™m fine with not voting. I”€™m not exactly fine with paying taxes, but I do it because the risks of noncompliance seem too high. But when the government’s ineptitude reaches a point where they can”€™t even keep basic records and force me to wipe their overpaid asses for them, suddenly I”€™m not so fine with the government at all.

Right now a lot of Obama voters”€”that ebulliently wacky, wired, juiced-up, energized coalition who in late 2008 finally started to feel that their votes could actually make a difference”€”are slowly awakening to the fact that their Chosen One is a calculating politician and not quite the American Moses they”€™d hoped he was. Amid his followers who aren”€™t completely afflicted with blind denial, there’s a growing bitter taste and sense of betrayal.

Also right now, the Tea Party is pulling off a string of electoral upsets, emboldening an entirely different demographic with the idea that their voices are able to shake the very columns upon which the system is built. Like the Obamatons before them, they seem dangerously confident that they will FINALLY be the ones who restore honesty to government.

If they also wind up feeling betrayed in a year or two, will a single soul remain who has any faith left in government? And if not, what happens then?

It’s hard not to feel a twinge of sympathy for the government, seeing how it’s admittedly difficult to maintain a veneer of honesty when they print fake money to fund the whole fake-ass elephant-and-donkey show. And sure, both major parties are only shadow puppets of global finance, existing only to serve the whims of their elite masters. My main gripe about this is that I was never invited to join the elite.

But basic behavioral psychology dictates that if the dog gets no treat for pulling the lever, sooner or later the dog will stop pulling it. And if the only reward for abject obedience is not being punished, the dog may, for freedom’s sake, sooner or later find a way to turn on its master.

Sooner or later one tends to develop a distaste for being bullied. If you”€™re still even remotely alive inside, it makes you sick to continue in blind compliance. When it comes to doing anything to support a system that has done nothing to support me, I feel driven to the point where I”€™ll emulate Bartleby the Scrivener and issue a terse “€œI would prefer not to.”€

After a while, it doesn”€™t become a question of deciding whether to throw the bums out as much as it involves deciding whether to burn down the bums”€™ house.

Whatever their political leanings and regardless of whether they”€™d admit it, I suspect most Americans fear the government. In a healthy democracy, the government would fear the people. At the very least, I believe they should share in the fear.

Fear is the only government handout I”€™ve ever accepted, albeit grudgingly. The time is ripe”€”it’s almost rotten”€”to give it back. I don”€™t pretend to offer any solutions regarding how to lift the USA out of its faux-democratic quagmire. I suspect things probably need to get far worse before they have a chance of getting better. But I don”€™t think it’s unethical to suggest that the government should fear its citizens at least as much as we fear them.

If they see nothing wrong with refusing to play fair with us, then I see nothing wrong with refusing to play with them at all.


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