Responding to Anti-government Ranting

Though written for a West Texas audience, readers can readily adapt this to their own locality.

It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.

–Mark Twain

There is history behind why some today express disdain for the federal government.  I’ll save that history for later but say here that a cruel joke has been played upon many Americans of moderate means.  They’ve been persuaded to think, talk and act politically against their own best interests, all to benefit controlling big banking, corporate and Wall Street interests.

Those interests I call “the banksters” want you to believe that your federal government can’t do anything right and is only bent on violating your rights, invading your privacy, taking away your guns, demolishing your religion and taxing you to death.  Funded and misinformed by the banksters, pundits and political mouthpieces doggedly sing this tune to make the lie become truth if only repeated often enough.  They do this because the only possible effective restraint on predatory capitalism would be the federal government; they want you to weaken your government or redirect it’s mission for their financial gain.

Let’s consider the accuracy of anti-government claims.  The US government is the foundation upon which our American society is built.  We’re lucky as residents of this country in that our social foundation was well thought out and crafted to withstand the test of time.  Perhaps the only thing that can bring it down is our own lack of understanding about it.  (These days we’re skating perilously close to that cliff.)

The government was established by adoption of the US Constitution with its purposes expressed in the Preamble to the Constitution.  It’s just one sentence but arguably the most important “mission statement” of modern times. With editorial assistance, the text as written is displayed for clarity:

“We the People of the United States, in Order to

form a more perfect Union,

establish Justice,

insure domestic Tranquility,

provide for the common defence,

promote the general Welfare,

and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity,

do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

While the meaning of some purpose statements can be debated, some are crystal clear.  The rest of the Constitution, including Amendments, directs the organization and actions of the government to serve those basic six purposes. With the inclusion of the first 10 Amendments to the Constitution (The Bill of Rights) the focus of this government and society clearly is on PEOPLE, those living at the time of adoption and their posterity (that’s us).  Any way you cut it, this society was organized as a “we” society in which we collectively look after and care for each other.  (And nowhere in this mission statement will you find mandates to preserve the profits of multi-national corporations.)

So, how well is the federal government addressing its mission statement?  Specifically, how is it enhancing the lives of those of us here in the wilds of West Texas?  We weren’t part of the original organization, but we wisely got ourselves adopted in 1845.  Since then, we’ve given the countless lives and vast personal and material resources to our government.  We have invested heavily, yet some are blind to all we receive in return.

Speaking of only one purpose, to “promote the general Welfare,” here’s just some of what we return to ourselves via our federal government:  Big Bend National Park, McDonald Observatory, NASA, Sul Ross State University (student grants, loans and program funding), AMTRAK; our non-commercial, public radio (Marfa Public Radio) and TV systems; food and drug safety systems including FDA and USDA (which also assists agriculture development); the federal highway system that conveys everything to and fro; money and regulation of our banking and commerce systems; transportation safety; disease and injury control; emergency response in disasters; environmental protection through research funding and regulation of pollution; employment assistance and occupational safety; housing assistance including construction funding, lending, regulation and support; the National Weather Service; and assistance to small businesses.

I left some biggies for last:  Social Security is a federal disability insurance and retirement system that provides basic income for many of our citizens who contributed to it and might otherwise be destitute.   TANF provides temporary assistance to needy families.   Medicare is a federal single-payer health care assurance system for those 65 and older.  Medicaid is the same for low-income folks (funded 50/50 by the Feds and the states).  Tricare serves military families and retirees.  And the State Children’s Health Insurance Program with joint federal/state funding covers care for uninsured children. These health care assurance (funding) systems are ALL federal programs, but many are operated by private insurance companies as contractors for the government.  Unlike for-profit health insurance, however, these programs focus on caring for people not making profit; overhead is low and client satisfaction is high.  The actual care is provided by our superior, mostly private professionals, hospitals and clinics. The VA health care system provides our veterans with health care both at government-run facilities and indirectly through payments to private doctors and pharmacies.  To those who consider health insurance reform intrusive, note that the government, at our request, is already deeply involved in health care financing and it works quite well.

“We the People” insisted that these services be provided.  It’s more efficient to provide them collectively and no one else does what the government will do.  Individual services may not be provided to our satisfaction, but if they are not, we have recourse.  They belong to us!  Consider too that these endeavors not only benefit West Texans, they also provide jobs for friends and neighbors.  And each of these endeavors creates demand for other goods and services provided by our local businesses.  If, as it now seems, we avoid a full-blown depression, we have this safety-net, this purpose to thank:  “…to promote the general Welfare.”

Those attacking the federal government “know for sure” some things that “just ain’t so.”  Believing what they say could get us all in deep trouble.

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2 Responses to “Responding to Anti-government Ranting”

  1. Carol Stall Says:

    You go girl!!! This is an awesome blog, factual, to the point, and unfortunately all too true in its observations about how the current use of propaganda techniques convinces ordinary, “mainstreet” people to go against their own best interests.

  2. Mary Bell Lockhart Says:

    Thanks. This was the first of a monthly column I’m going to be doing for the Alpine Avalanche. I’m pleased that they want to pull in columns from all viewpoints and honored that they consider my items good enough to be a regular column.

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