Dismantling the Conservative Platform – Part 1: We Need Federal Government
This country has hardly ever been so divided, particularly on so many issues. And this has, most unfortunately, led to a great number of US citizens becoming either entirely apathetic, or loath to the very idea of partaking in the political “game” at all. While the former does present a huge problem in this country, it is the latter that threatens to actively drive passionate people away from working on corruption and forces them to join the former group. This theory suggests that those arguing from the left are essentially the same as those arguing from the right of the spectrum, and that there is no reason to get involved because of it.
This argument has been toyed with for years, and claims that the social issues the two groups fight over are nothing but a distraction from the real issues, and anyone involved in politics is a part of the problem, particularly if they vote. It has been especially prominent among the Occupy Wall Street demonstrators, but I sincerely reject it. Though I will concede there is corruption on both sides of the aisle, and those in high places are protecting the richest among us (and lining their own wallets while they’re at it), I refuse to believe liberals and conservatives are really just two sides of the same coin.
Rather than look at it that way, and throw our entire political system out the window, I would prefer to pinpoint the exact problems and work on them accordingly. With that said, I would like to discuss why left sided policies are in this country’s best interest, and why those coming from the right are either false, detrimental or both. It is time to truly debunk the conservative platform and demand rational discourse when it comes to deciding what we will do for this country’s future. This is serious business and there is no more room for idiots and liars.
One of the most common themes among right wing politics is the constant jabber about the need for smaller centralized government and a heavy reliance on state government instead. It would be prudent to first point out the incredible hypocrisy of this, as right wingers tend to only want small government when it benefits their wallets or their narrow minds, and are the first to freak out when things like defense are even being considered for cuts. But, I digress.
We need big government. We really do. This is a very large country and we rely on our federal government for a lot. And before anyone tries to jump me and bash me over the head with a copy of 1984, please remember that “big brother” only gets as much power as we give him. There is a world of difference between relying on government to provide services to its people, and giving that government unquestionable and unrelenting power. We are seeing some examples of government with too much influence, and that is a separate issue to tackle.
State governments are actually relatively ineffectual. While states typically receive the majority of their revenue from sales and property taxes, many receive a good amount of money from the federal government. This is particularly true as of late. In 2009 (and for the first time in this country’s history), federal government provided more revenue for state and local governments than anything else, something that helped to stave off some of the worst effects of the recession. It’s also worth noting that federal aid is not the same across the board, and many lower income states benefit greatly from other states pitching in. These states would not be able to provide as well for their own citizens, which would lead to even harder times in poorer areas. In this way, and in others, the federal government works to ensure that there is a relatively constant quality of life across the country.
Federal government also serves to protect our civil rights. It is rather well known that some areas of the country are more dangerous for people who are viewed as “different”, and it is federal laws that tend to protect them. A federal government ensures that someone born in Alabama is afforded the same rights as someone born in New York, and guarantees that crimes against them won’t go unchecked if a local government sympathizes with the wrong doers.
The federal government regulates all that needs it in this country, including food and water, drugs, business, emissions and so on. There is no morality built into anything, and as evidenced in the past, when people are allowed to do anything they want, particularly when money is concerned, they are often selfish and don’t do what is in everyone’s best interest.
States’ rights exist in order to protect local interests. It goes without saying that life for the average person in Texas is probably different than the life of the average person in Rhode Island. And each state is going to have different reasons for wanting things a certain way. There are many things that can’t be decided upon well from a distance, and it is similar to when a company allows more decisions to be made by lower level employees. Those at the top of the pyramid tend to be at least slightly out of touch with the people and operations at the bottom, and can often hand down foolish rules that only serve to complicate things even further. It is also true, however, that if a large company with several branches eliminated or drastically reduced their corporate level workers, it would lose its cohesiveness and would no longer be able to properly function as one entity.
Those on the right would have us believe that downsizing our government is the best way to deal with corruption. They blame federal government for… well, everything. It’s big brother that’s stealing our money, enabling lazy people, drowning small businesses and crippling the average Joe. And they consistently remind us to be afraid. The whole thing is really just a giant scare tactic. But the only thing we really have to be worried about is the fact that fear is such a powerful motive for those on the right. I posit that we have no reason to be afraid of government. It’s “we the people,” not “they the evil doers.” Should those in government start wielding too much power, we have the right, and the numbers, to take it back.