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A few days ago, I wrote this reply to a recent column by C. Krauthammer in the Washington Post:

I am a handicapped person. I was born handicapped as a result of an accident during my birth. I grew up in a family of conservative Republicans who taught me that I would always have to rely on myself, with no help from others. Even if I had to literally crawl up a set of stairs, or go up the path used by the garbage delivery trucks--or go an extra mile to find a curb break.

Fortunately, I did well in school. By the time I had my Master's degree, there were accommodations for disabled people at my university, thanks to federal law. When I went out into the working world, I found that my needs would be respected.

I cannot tell you how different today's world is from the world of my childhood, especially for someone like me. And it is all because--and only because--of government regulation.  

Yes, the state did make me great--much greater than I would have been without its help.

This was only a simple statement of fact. On a philosophical level, I would like to add a few more comments, given below.

First, the government of the United States is elected by “We, the People.”  That is in our founding document.  We the people choose elected representatives.  We the people rely on those representatives to work for the common defense and promote the general welfare. We the people need government to supply the big things that go beyond our personal scope.

If I were a multi-millionaire, I might possess a gracious home built on a large piece of land, with a four-mile driveway and subsidiary roads across whatever parts of the estate I wished to access, a separate area for my show horses and the grooms, or the groundskeeper and his family, or both, for example. Perhaps, if the place were remote enough, I might employ a tutor to help my young children learn reading and writing before they went to boarding school. I might even have an electrical and sewage plant on the premises. On my estate, I might consider myself perfectly self-sufficient.

But any time I would go off my estate, I would rely on public resources that support all of society. I would take a public road when I exited my gate. When I used my private jet, I would rely on a network of FAA-approved air traffic controllers. When I bought prescription medicine, I would rely on FDA approval to ensure the safety and efficacy of the drug. I would rely on “we the people” electing a government that would be a watchdog for rich and poor alike.

Even as a rich person, these are not roads, air traffic controllers or medicines that I have individually provided.  These are not mine.  These belong to society, my society and your society. These are ours—ours together.

Next, wealth does not protect anyone from the frailties of the human condition. Debilitating illness can strike anyone, regardless of the size of his/her purse. Government research is often the first thing comes to mind in “finding a cure” for a disease. For one example, we have Cindy McCain (definitely a rich person, definitely a Republican) working to organize public awareness and more funding for the disability of migraine headaches. One of her goals is presenting testimony before Congress. Finding a cure for a disease is part of promoting the general welfare of our country—part of our country’s founding principles.

We may not like to admit it, but none of us is invincible. All of us are subject to accident, disease, old age, or just plain bad luck. All of us, at some point, will need the help and support of others, because we are human. Sometimes the help and support can be given on an individual, personal level. But sometimes it requires a group of us working together. The biggest group of us working together? That’s the government.  That’s us.

Originally posted to CyberLady1 on Sat Jul 21, 2012 at 09:03 AM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  So many experiences make us aware (7+ / 0-)

    of privilege, yet so many are in denial.
    I feel sorry for the people who are so in thrall to their feelings of power and control that they can't admit vulnerability. Sickness and death will be hard on them.

    The founding fathers knew of the mutually corrupting influences of Church and state, wisely sending them to opposite corners.

    by emidesu on Sat Jul 21, 2012 at 10:39:05 AM PDT

  •  I agree (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Chi, ridemybike, magicsister, Noddy

    Power and control are actually difficult things to hold on to. Loss of both comes to all of us.

  •  That is the key thing (19+ / 0-)

    I think people forget when they are seduced by the "shrink government into helpless impotence" meme. What Norquist and his crew are saying is "We want to reduce YOU and YOUR voice to helpless impotence." Because government IS us, and it is there to give us a collective response to other powers — corporate, money, religious, whatever — who might try to seize our power from us.

    Where government is weak and impotent, something more powerful always seizes the reigns. In other countries it might be warlords or murderous rebels or pirates. In this country, when we have demolished government — OUR voice — corporations are our masters and make the rules for us. And then we have no voice and no input.

    Take the "Can't(or)" out of Congress. Support E. Wayne Powell in Va-07.

    by anastasia p on Sat Jul 21, 2012 at 02:49:47 PM PDT

    •  Good comment. (7+ / 0-)

      I admit I'm torn between thinking, "Yeah, the government: that's us because we live in a democracy," and "Yeah. Right. That's us. No, it isn't because moneyed interests own our government."

      Two days ago I saw a bumper sticker on a truck pasted with other right-wing messages. This one was, "I love my country. I fear its government."

      My vocalized response (in the safety of my car) was, "I love my country. I fear you Republicans."

      Being the single intellectual in a village of 1,100 souls ain't much fun, especially when 1,099 of those don't think you're all that smart.--Lucy Marsden

      by Miniaussiefan on Sat Jul 21, 2012 at 04:08:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  No one could have (5+ / 0-)

      put this better, anastasia p.

      They do want to take away our voice. It is evident in almost everything they do.

      Thank you, I needed to see this.

    •  And what rushes in when the people have no voice? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Noddy, happymisanthropy

      Big money, the rich, the abusive greedy bastards.   The founders of the USA had seen power accumulate in Europe into few hands and knew the damage that did.

      So, intentionally, they divided power among different branches, sought to make change difficult and slow, and tried to insure the people had a voice in the government.

      That may be the closest thing possible to "original intent" of the founders, regardless of what Scalia says from time to time.

      "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

      by YucatanMan on Sat Jul 21, 2012 at 06:04:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  They also want to say (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bnasley, bluezen, ridemybike, YucatanMan, Noddy

    Can't afford  the things that make it possible for you to live a satisfying life? It's not my responsibility to help you, and don't you DARE use my tax money to fund it either.

    It's a starker division than anyone realizes.

    -7.75, -8.10; All it takes is security in your own civil rights to make you complacent.

    by Dave in Northridge on Sat Jul 21, 2012 at 03:01:18 PM PDT

  •  Fear is a powerful motivator (6+ / 0-)

    and sadly, fear may be the real force behind folks who want to make their own pile of wealth and not share it.

    Although many of the powerful are climate-change deniers, I've wondered if the prospect of a less-livable earth is part of what drives the "rich and powerful" folks to pile up enough money, not just for themselves, but also for their families, into almost-perpetuity. A sense of security, as it were...

    •  that's an interesting deduction. i see it (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      YucatanMan, Noddy, cai

      as more of a manifestation of their hubris -- the same hubris which drove the asshole wall street bankers to gamble away the country's treasury simply b/c they could -- & that they had rigged the system so they would never be punished for it, either.

      the superclass really believes none of the climate change horrors that are forecast will impact them much, if at all.  they operate under the assumption that they will be sufficiently protected from any real danger -- just like in poe's masque of the red death (read it, if you haven't -- it's amazingly apropos for our time).

      i read a piece on the guardian (i think) the other day, about how when humans acquire wealth it makes them insensitive to the needs of their fellow man, kind of like they have become austistic in their ability to be so unfeeling towards others.

      btw, excellent diary.  i hope you'll follow up if you get a reply from kraphammer.

      •  If you still have that link, could you pass it on? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Noddy, bluezen

        I read that too, and haven't been able to find it again.

        Basically was saying at a certain point people's money isolates them from the concerns of others. Having money, in a sense, makes you more selfish, not less!

        it was so interesting, but I was busy at the time, thought I'd come back and never found the exact article I was looking for.

        "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

        by YucatanMan on Sat Jul 21, 2012 at 06:08:53 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  i tried to find it but didn't have much luck. (0+ / 0-)

          i do so much online research, i sometimes get confused about where i saw something.  sorry.

          •  Same here. I found an article, but it wasn't the (0+ / 0-)

            exact same one I saw earlier.  The one I was looking for talked more about how people changed as their incomes rose. So even those who did not start out wealthy gradually lost all empathy with the poor and became more selfish and demanding.  They became impatient, insistent, even dishonest because they "deserved" to get what they wanted.

            "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

            by YucatanMan on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 09:19:44 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  this is perhaps my favorite diary of the day. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    YucatanMan, Noddy, CyberLady1, pamelabrown

    .... i volunteer with a program for handicapped people

    it's a cycling program
    we carefully transfer people in wheelchairs
    into hand cycles....

    we also take blind folks out on tandems.

    but your title: The government? That's us!
    is something i've been screaming from the rooftops
    the streets... the gutters.... wherever i find myself in political talk

    we are the government!
    WE are the government!

    it's us

    thank you, cyberlady :-)
    and keep writing!!!

    Toleration is the greatest gift of the mind; it requires the same effort of the brain that it takes to balance oneself on a bicycle. -Helen Keller

    by ridemybike on Sat Jul 21, 2012 at 05:12:01 PM PDT

  •  This silly hypocrisy always cracks me up: (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CyberLady1, cspivey, cai

    RWers will rail on about how they don't trust the gubmint with anything.

    But you ask them where the gubmint comes from (the Constitution, elections) and who selects the gubmint (the people) and who serves in the gubmit (the people), and they just don't get it.

    What other system is better than gubmint where people can come together and resolve the inevitable problems which arise from a bunch of people living together.

    Democracy is the worst government system in the world, except for all the rest. (or something like that)  ;-)

    They don't get it because they don't want to get it.  RWers are inevitably haters and complainers who don't like other people. ( imho )

    "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

    by YucatanMan on Sat Jul 21, 2012 at 06:01:33 PM PDT

  •  Elected employees. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    happymisanthropy, cspivey, xanthippe2, cai

    I keep using that phrase to remind others and me that they are "officials" and they have only the power we give them (which is too much, in my opinion). We are their employers, we pay their salaries and benefits, and we hire them by voting for them.  We can fire them by not voting for them.

    All knowledge is worth having. Check out OctopodiCon for steampunk learning and fun.

    by Noddy on Sat Jul 21, 2012 at 06:28:10 PM PDT

  •  That quote from Krauthammer is so shocking (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ...I almost wanted to call bullshxt.  A Republican wrote that?  Really?  He's gonna get drummed out of the John Birch Society.

    Except that this is what they all know is true.  All Republicans know the most common-sense liberal ideas are true; they simply pretend they don't.

    They know you can't privatize police and fire departments.  They know education is good for America.  They know about the common good.

    But they pretend they don't, because they can't let "the other team" win.  They can't admit that Limbaugh is a blowhard.  I think they hated Clinton and Obama in part because they both co-opted Republican ideas, and that infuriates them.

    I think both Clinton and Obama are good at using this against them, in a jiu-jitsu kind of way.  Republicans today are like stubborn children - and reverse psychology works in both cases!

    Early to rise and early to bed Makes a man healthy, wealthy, and dead. --Not Benjamin Franklin

    by Boundegar on Sat Jul 21, 2012 at 06:53:57 PM PDT

  •  You know Krauthammer is in a wheelchair, right? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    slouchsock, cspivey

    Paraplegic since a diving accident in college, which makes your reply sort of ironic, it seems to me.

    He's also a complete and utter egotistical ass on pretty much every topic under the sun.  He discounts patient autonomy, pooh poohing living wills, and spouts some BS about he and his mom knew better what his Dad would want in terms of care as he was dying than a form his own Dad filled out some time before.  Gods save me from people who aren't me deciding that my own desired choices are not actually what I would want and overriding my own instructions in my living will.  He's functionally the equivalent of Terri Schiavo's parents...

  •  Bravo (6+ / 0-)

    Well said.

    When all the anti-government criticism is voiced, I sometimes wish we could do like the Twilight Zone TV series and just snap our fingers and - zap! - right wing conservatives would be thrown into a world without services that are enabled by the government.  All of a sudden they have no utilities, clean water, police/fire, public roads, Internet connection.  All the prices for everything they buy would jump, since so many commodities are in fact subsidized.

    Their "I did it ALL by myself with NO help from anyone else!" smirks would vanish from their faces.

    "Hidden in the idea of radical openness is an allegiance to machines instead of people." - Jaron Lanier

    by FDRDemocrat on Sat Jul 21, 2012 at 07:00:15 PM PDT

  •  Helped Here Too (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I have C.O.P.D. in the form of severe asthma. I am highly allergic to cigarette smoke. Until the Government started implementing smoke free environments I had a terrible time. In fact Doctors believe it was my exposure to second hand smoke that helped kick the asthma into C.O.P.D. No one smoked in my family so it was strictly second hand smoke that did it to me. I can now go into a restaurant and know I'll be able to breathe by the time I leave.

    "A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world." Oscar Wilde

    by michelewln on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 06:52:23 AM PDT

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