What Color Am I Today?

Today’s Joplin Globe carries Gene Lyons’ column, as it often does.  In it he comments on verbal sniping by “the right” because half of all households pay no income tax (headline).  He calls the snipers’ complaints, “hypocritical”, and he makes good points to support this.  Among others, there was this.  “Needless to say we heard nothing like this when the government Santorum wanted invaded Iraq and Afghanistan on credit.”  He went on to detail the remarkably-growing disparity in incomes between the rich and the rest of us, and of course, the bailouts of the too-big-to-fail, of which I have written elsewhere.

I found myself agreeing with Lyons.  The points he made are good ones, and valid.  Did I wake up a Liberal this morning?  Well, no.  I try to keep an open mind and I always try to activate my skeptical filter.  I have a little debate in my head, and the counter points rise up.  BOTH parties have been equally at fault for the fiscal mess we find ourselves in.  BOTH parties have been spending like there is no tomorrow, printing money as they needed it.  (I have been using the phrase, “Crank up the presses!” in op-ed’s for years now.)  I have concluded that the fault is in ourselves, the citizens, and that includes the ones who vote in the pork-barrel politicians and the apathetic majority who are quite pleased to not bother to vote but who enjoy both receiving the pork and complaining too.  Americans like to treat themselves like they treat their children:  permissive and indulgent. Where is Walt Kelly when you need him?  He is why Pogo Possum said, “We have met the enemy, and he is US!”

There was an old movie that was kind of silly but which serves as a good example of a basic principle.  It was called, “Watermelon Man”, and it was about a white guy who inexplicably woke up Black one morning.  Needless to say it changed his viewpoint about a lot of things.  It makes me think of labels.  Labels, categories, whatever you want to call them, certainly make it easier to organize behind one group or another, but therein lies the danger.  Getting a label dampens one’s skeptical filter.

Several days ago I had this strong urge for Tea.  Some mornings I wake up Libertarian, but that’s probably just because the Libertarians haven’t had their chance to mess things up yet.  Certainly they are a varied crowd that doubtless contains survivalists and other odd ducks.  OK.  For today, color me purple (you make that by mixing red and blue).

About Jim Wheeler

U. S. Naval Academy, BS, Engineering, 1959; Naval line officer and submariner, 1959 -1981, Commander, USN; The George Washington U., MSA, Management Eng.; Aerospace Engineer, 1981-1999; Resident Gadfly, 1999 - present. Political affiliation: Democratic.
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