Ronald Reagan once famously said "Government is not the solution to your problems, government IS the problem." Thus began a new conservative republican agenda to subvert the middle class, turn them against each other by waging war on entitlements and gradually shift the focus of our government from being a vehicle of public service to being an extortion and money laundering network for the ultra wealthy and mega corporations.
Reagan railed against "big government" in what continues to be the rallying cry of conservatives. However, at the same time, he launched the "Just Say No" campaign and exponentially increased funding for the DEA and the war on drugs. This created huge government growth, aka "big government." Thus began the hypocritical love/hate affair that conservatives have with the two things they publicly claim to be against but privately support when and wherever it suits them - bigger government and more spending.
You can't be against big government and then create entire, previously non-existent government agencies and departments. You can't be against more government spending and pledge billions of additional dollars to the war on drugs, funding a cold war against Russia, and so on. You can't be against government interfering in the lives of private citizens and fight to pass government legislation to make abortion illegal.
This is the republican hypocrisy in a nutshell. We want smaller government - but only where it applies to the government trying to regulate industry and force us to play fair. We want less spending - but only where it applies to programs that don't benefit us and our rich benefactors. We want less government interference in our lives - but only where it applies to the things we want to do and get away with.
It is a fact that government has grown more under the 3 republican presidents in the last 30 years than at any point under Clinton or Obama. It is a fact that government spending increased more under them as well. It is also a fact that more legislation has been introduced and/or passed to limit the rights of individuals under republican presidents than democratic ones. So when, exactly, do republicans practice what they preach about smaller, more efficient and less intrusive government? Well, when it comes to telling corporations what to do. When it comes to forcing corporations to respect the environment and their workers. When it comes to regulating financial markets and preventing collusion, back room deals and outright corruption that plunders the middle class and has brought our economy to the brink of collapse no less than 3 times in the last 30 years simply for the enrichment of a few hundred billionaires. See, republicans do care about individual freedoms, when that individual is a corporation. It's the rest of us that they could give a shit about...
Where's the smaller government when republicans passed the Patriot Act and began illegally tapping our phones, monitoring our internet and emails and spying on Americans? Where's the more efficient, less spending government when the republicans voted to give $750 billion to the banks, spend over a trillion dollars on two wars and continue to pour money into the un-winnable war on drugs, which has raged for over 3 decades and cost taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars and only resulted in making drugs cheaper, stronger and easier to get than ever before in our nation's history? Where's the less intrusive government when republicans have introduced nearly 1000 pieces of legislation to restrict or remove a woman's right to choose? When they have introduced nearly 800 bills to eliminate collective bargaining and worker's rights? When they fight to make constitutional amendments to make flag burning a crime and outlaw gay marriage?
See, republicans aren't for smaller, more efficient and less intrusive government, they're just for smaller, more efficient and less intrusive government where it suits them. Let's make government smaller when it comes to health care. Let's shore up government spending when it comes to welfare and food stamps. Let's make government less intrusive when it comes to taxing the rich and telling corporations they can't dump their waste into the river. That's where they want smaller, more efficient and less intrusive government.
Republicans constantly preach that government is our enemy, that it's out to get us and take away our freedoms and force us onto it's welfare teat. However, government does not exist for us to serve, it exists to serve us. That's why government employees are called public servants. "Big government" is why we can drink water from the tap without worrying about dying. "Big government" is why you can get medicine from your doctor without the ingredients and dosage varying wildly from pill to pill. "Big government" is why you can buy produce from your local supermarket without it being riddled with deadly bacteria. At least, that's how it used to be, until corporations and their republican puppets began fighting for increasingly lax regulations on those industries. Remember all the cases of e-coli, salmonella and other deadly bacterial poisonings in food back when you were a kid? No? That's because it almost never happened then. See, back then there were far stricter regulations on what was an "acceptable level" of contaminants in food. Back then there were tougher regulations on how food should be processed, packaged and shipped and how long it could sit on shelves before it had to be disposed of, and so on. Back then, livestock wasn't fed a corn-based, steroid-infused synthesized feed product that their digestive systems weren't built to process that lead to the creation of new, deadly strains of bacteria, such as e-coli, simply because it was cheaper and more profitable for the corporations that owned the farms and ranches. That's what "smaller government" where it suits big business gets you - little kids dying because they ate a hamburger.
Go to this website. It's a site called homefacts.com. And that link should take you to the "drinking water" section. Look up the rating for the tap water in your city. Chances are, it's rated at less than 5/10, and most likely is in the 1-2 range. Next, look at the list of contaminants in your water that caused that low rating. That's what "smaller government" where it suits big business gets you. We don't want the government telling us where we can and can't dump our toxic waste and production byproducts, especially when we have a perfectly good river right out back. So what if a few hundred kids develop birth defects or die before their 10th birthday, we're trying to make a profit over here! Keep your big government out of our lives!
Last week, the CEO's of the major oil companies all testified before congress that, if the government takes back the $4 billion or so in subsidies that it gives to those oil companies per year, they will be "forced" to pass that on to the consumer in higher gas prices. These oil companies make an average of $4 billion in profit per week, ok? So, what they're saying is, if the government takes away the one free week of profit that it currently gives them per year, they're going to punish everyone in America by raising the price of gas. Not because it's now going to cost them more to make it, not because they were barely getting by and depended on that government money, but simply because the government would be reducing their profit from about $200 billion a year to $195 billion instead. What they are saying, explicitly, is that if the government reduces their already outrageous profit by less than 3%, they will fuck everyone over at the pump by jacking up gas prices, and if you think they're only going to increase prices by the 3% losing these subsidies would cost them, I gotta bridge I want to sell you. This is the textbook definition of extortion. Give me money or I will punish you and hurt people. If I walked into a bank and said that, I would be in prison right now, but if a group of CEO's walk into congress and say that, they're rewarded for it and on top of that, every republican in congress is fighting to give them more tax cuts on top of that! Where's the more efficient, less spend-happy government? Republicans want more efficient government that cuts spending, except when it comes to giving free money to oil companies and tax cuts to billionaires. What they mean is we need to stop spending money on handouts for single moms on welfare, old people on social security and medicare and poor families who need food stamps and housing assistance and give that money to the billionaires and mega corporations who really deserve it...
It's like a bad Yakov Smirnoff joke, you know, like "In Soviet Russia, television watches you!" Only it's "In capitalist America, bank robs you!"
The republicans in Washington have spent nearly a trillion dollars fighting the war on drugs. They have spent billions fighting to make abortion illegal. They are spending millions more trying to ban and prevent gay marriage. They're spending millions trying to repeal net neutrality and pave the way for censorship of the internet - the last bastion of truly free exchange left in the world. They're spending millions to prosecute Julian Assange and wikileaks. Republicans are at the forefront of all these battles. Republicans have no problem using government to violate the privacy of American citizens and oppress our freedoms when it suits them, oh, but keep your damn hands off my guns! You better allow prayer in schools! Don't you tell me I can't have a nativity scene in my government building! Don't infringe upon my rights and freedoms to be a gun-toting, bible-thumping, gay-hating, flag-draped, god-fearing Christian wherever and whenever I want! Don't force your pro-gay agenda on me! But you better not stop me from forcing my pro-God agenda on you, or there'll be hell to pay!
See, the government guarantees us freedoms. They're all right there in the constitution. The government protects those freedoms when other people try to take them away from us. The laws are established to do just that, in fact. The government is not the enemy of freedom, the government is the protector of it. The government is the one who stands up for the "little guy" and defends his freedom of speech, no matter how unpopular. The government is the mediator of disputes.
The government is not your enemy, the politicians are.
The government was established to protect you, to defend you, to ensure and guarantee your rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The government exists to serve you and enforce the laws you have democratically decided are just and fair. Sorry, Ron, but the government is the solution to the problem, and the problem is politicians. The problem is greedy, powerful corporations who act as if they are above the law. The government is the voice of the people when that voice is drowned out by the droning machines of the industrial complex. The government is the will of the people when that will is subverted by media propaganda. The government is the defender of the people when the people are under attack from the neo-psychopathic corporate body and the wild ideologies of the people and politicians they control. The government is the voice that says "stop dumping your shit into our drinking water." The government protects us when no one else will.
Reagan also famously said "The most frightening words you'll ever hear are 'I'm from the government and I'm here to help."
If you really believe this, then you don't understand what the government was established for in the first place. The government IS here to help, that's why it was created. Our founding fathers knew that, as our country grew, we would need a strong, unified voice and body politic to defend our rights, protect our freedoms and ensure our safety and prosperity. They knew human nature and greed and they knew that without an impartial, legal authority to uphold the laws of the land, that we would be subject to the same tyranny that they had come to America to escape in the first place. Our government is a democracy, a representation of the will of the people. If government is the enemy, then we're the enemy, because the government is our government and it exists to serve us.
The time has come for us to stop fearing our government and start directing it again. If we're sick of high gas prices, then we need to tell our government to do something about it. If we're sick of the high cost of health care, then we need to tell our government to do something about it. If we're sick of the rich getting richer while the middle class shrinks and more and more of us join the ranks of the poor, unemployed and homeless every year, then we need to tell our government to do something about it. That's what we have a government for, to serve the will of the people. To stand up to big business and other entities who are too powerful for us to take on alone. To be our voice when no one else is listening. For too long we have allowed ourselves to believe that the government controls us, when it's the other way around. We have allowed ourselves to view the government as someone we shouldn't trust, when the government is a reflection of our own ideas, and to not trust our government is to not trust ourselves. Government is not the problem, the people running it are. We need to take back the reigns and start making changes ourselves. We need to stop being complacent and throwing our hands up and letting people who don't give a fuck about us make our decisions for us. We need to stop allowing ourselves to be treated like inferiors simply because we're not the CEO of megacorp interternational. Our government exists so that the littlest American can stand on equal footing with the biggest and most powerful CEO's. It's not our enemy, it's our vehicle for change. It's our ticket to a better way of life. It's our only weapon against the relentless attack on our prosperity and our way of life. It's our gun, and they can have it when they pry it out of our cold, dead hands!