This Thanksgiving, along with all the things I am thankful for, I am very thankful that the elections are over. No, I am not going to gloat or moan about the results. I’m just thankful that they have come to an end. The fact that they are over means all the threatening and misleading ads are done. No longer will I be bombarded with messages of doom if I vote for the other candidate. No longer will I be required to listen to promises no logical person could ever believe were possible to keep.
Campaigning is no longer about who a person is or what a person intends to do but rather about how wrong headed and dangerous their opponent is. We are expected to assume that the person campaigning must believe in the exact opposite of everything we are asked to fear about the opponent. Gone are the days of civility and dignity. Without any compliance rules to follow and a boat load of money needed just to get your message out, civility and dignity have become passe. Fear and exaggeration sell.
How refreshing it would be if a candidate simple spoke truthfully about who they were, what they believed in and what they HOPED to do instead of making promises they either couldn’t keep or never intended to keep. How can I improve education, give universal no holds barred health care, fix our deteriorating infrastructure and do it all while I cut your taxes. All of those items, while extremely important to us can not be paid for without dollars. Why can’t we acknowledge that the benefits of an educated and healthy society improve life for everyone. It should not be a question of do I have a child in the education system but rather that all children in the education system deserve a chance to learn and develop the skills, both social and intellectual, that all of our futures depend upon.
But fair taxation does not mean equal taxation. Our graduated system has worked for years and is necessary if we are to accomplish even half the items on our wish lists. The problem is, that promising to make sure we can pay for something, just doesn’t go well with our propensity to want our taxes cut. Until we realize that the society we imagine needs the support of everyone in it, we can’t honestly expect it to ever exist. This means that the dollars I pay for taxes, if based on my ability to pay, will in fact directly benefit me, if not today, in my future. If it means I can drive on good roads across safe bridges, or know that I can see a quality doctor when I need to, without wondering if I can afford the service, then my taxes were well spent. If paying my taxes means that children can be guaranteed a quality education whether it is my child or yours, then my dollars are well spent. If it means that my taxes will provide the services for someone not as well off as me so that I can walk city streets knowing we have done what we can for the homeless and not that we have left even more fall through the cracks, then my dollars are well spent.
By now you are ready to accuse me of being at the very least a socialist and at the worst hopelessly idealistic. But understand, I am still grounded. Things may never be perfect but we should never settle for less than our best civic effort. I just wish we could have candidates, who if they really believe what they say, would be honest about what it takes to accomplish these goals and then go about actually trying to accomplish them.
We can be a great society but only if we are willing to shoulder the responsibility, both fiscally and morally, that it requires. But for now, fear and greed still sell. I can only hope that as we move forward, it will actually be forward. That we will move in a direction of increased civility. We have a voice to be heard and that voice is our vote.
At least for now, the ad campaigns are over and I might just be able to stomach the commercial breaks in my favorite shows. I will chalk this one up to it just had to be said.
Thanks for reading.