May 04 2009

Raise-a-Palooza

Good quote from the Quincy Tea Party site today:

When the QTP is successful in altering the budget, removing the water / sewer increases, and ending the Quincy Raise-a-Palooza Festival, we vow not to celebrate by convoying city vehicles to Westview for a round of golf.

I don’t write much about politics on this blog, for a few reasons.  Everyone else is doing it, so there’s little to say that hasn’t already been said better elsewhere.  It’s also easy to get obsessed with it and spend way too much time writing about it (I must have written a book’s worth during the 2000 election, just in one PC-gamer newsgroup), to the detriment of other topics.

But worst of all, it gets depressing.  We conservatives are doomed to lose most of the time in politics, because it’s simply not in our nature to spend a lot of time and energy thinking about and getting involved in government.  We see government as a necessary evil that should be assigned certain tasks necessary to protect a nation and make it possible for people to live in it without killing each other.  Things like defending the borders and resolving disputes between the states—you know, things actually in the constitution.  It’s only natural that we’ll spend less effort on changing the government than modern liberals like George W. Bush and Barack Obama, who think government can put a chicken in every pot and a doctor at every sickbed and a smile on every face  if we just put the right people in charge of it.

photo from flickr.com

photo from flickr.com

So conservatives are destined to go down swinging most of the time—or to take a called third strike while we’re not looking because we’re going to church or spending time with family or running a business.  Chronicling that decline is a depressing business, and makes it easy to fall into too much cynicism and sarcasm.  (Which there’s a fair amount of in that last paragraph, for example, even though it’s all true.  And there’s some more.)  That’s just not the feel I want for my blog where I’m also talking about faith and growing chickens and peas in the backyard, so I only step into politics when I think I have something useful and new to say.

Still, there are small victories for conservatives now and then, even if they’re usually a backlash by the moderates in the middle against the progressives pushing their victories too far too fast.  The Tea Parties are a good example of that.  One thing that impresses me about the Tea Party movement is that they’re focused on the right thing: the spending.  Sure, high taxes are bad, but the spending is the real core of the problem.  Everyone dislikes high taxes, even the people who vote for them.  We’re all familiar with the stereotype of the guy who complains about taxes and then holds his hand out for his ag subsidy check, his federal research grant, or new pavement on the road past his house.

Attacking the spending is harder.  No matter how many trillions of dollars the government takes from us (or borrows—or just prints) and spends, every single one of those dollars is the most important one in the budget to someone out there.  The most ridiculous and wasteful pork barrel project pays someone’s salary.  So when you say you want to cut spending, you’re saying you want someone to be paid less or fired.  Sure, lower taxes and spending means a more productive nation and ultimately more jobs, but that’s little consolation for the university researcher who’s looking for a new job because the grant for her research on the effect of cow flatulence on the environment just got cut.  Every dollar spent goes to a real person who wants it very much, maybe even needs it.  So cutting spending means making tough choices, which is why we try not to think about it except when it gets so far out of hand that we have no choice.

So my hat’s off to the Tea Party folks, who are putting the focus on the real problem in a civil and peaceful way.  If nothing else comes of it, at least regular Americans who aren’t semi-pro protesters are learning a little about the process and getting involved.  Just be on your best behavior, folks; the DHS has its eye on you.  (Thanks, George.)

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