“Money don’t get everything, it’s true
What it don’t get, I can’t use.” — Barry Gordy
It should be noted that I almost never do this. I almost never write two of these a day. However, I will be out of pocket the next few days, so I felt the need to add an additional piece today. I also had an encounter online that cemented something I’ve believed for a very long time. Leave it to a conservative to simplify it for me. As I noted in the last piece, they are really good at that.
It started innocently enough. Someone introduced a meme of the evil lion from the Lion King and talked about he usurped the throne, brought in a bunch of hyenas, and caused a huge drought. It was clear by the person who sent it and the comments that they fully believed Joe Biden was the evil lion. They said this without any hint of irony whatsoever.
I politely pointed out that I agreed with the sentiment of the meme, but obviously believed it was true of someone else. He challenged me. He asked me to look at my bank account and tell me how I thought I was better off with Biden than Trump. He’s still waiting for an answer because I refuse the basis of the question. I did point out that I paid more in taxes after the last “tax cut” but that’s not really the point.
The point is that conservatives are stuck on money. Everything is about money and bank accounts. Everything is about taxes and how much we pay in taxes. Success is tied up into how much money you make and how many people you can step on along the way. There’s never any consideration for what is rendered.
I certainly hope one day that I will get to meet my maker. I don’t know if my life has stacked up. I’m almost certain it can’t possibly stack up. I am 100 percent certain my maker won’t ask me how much money I made. My maker won’t ask me how much money I have in the bank. My maker might not even ask me how much money I gave away. I’m reasonably sure the question of money won’t even come up. I’m sure I will asked what I did to make the world a better place. Money can be a part of that, but money isn’t the same thing.
Many of us have gotten to an age where we begin to take stock in our lives. We ask ourselves if we did everything we could to be the very best person we possibly could be. If my salary enters into that thought process I can’t help but think I’ve done something wrong. I would be lost. I hope I’m more than the collection of paychecks I have drawn. If I retire in a decade I hope I have more to show for it than a good pension.
Yet, this is where we are. When we look at the last four plus years we are asked to evaluate our bank account. We are somehow expected to forget everything but the bottom line. This somehow diminishes humanity to the lowest common denominator. We take the huge loss in human life, the outrageous violations of human rights, the hateful rhetoric, and the horrific neglect and somehow make an adjustment after the decimal point.
We reduce millions freezing in the winter from a substandard grid to points on a ledger. It’s okay that some of them died. It was worth it to get the savings that comes from deregulation. It’s okay that thousands saw their bills go through the roof. It’s all about the bottom line after all. My bill didn’t go up that much, so it’s okay.
It’s okay to mismanage hurricanes and forest fires. It’s okay to brutally mismanage a pandemic. It’s okay to provide shade for racists, sexists, bigots of all types, and those that would prey on the less fortunate. As long as my taxes are cut. That’s the world we’re proposing.
The funny thing is that even if we give into that premise (which I would never do) the proponents of low taxes fail to realize the obvious. Sure, your taxes are low and that’s great. Yet, you always end up paying the freight somehow, someway. That money leaves your bank account one way or the other. In most cases, the free market takes more of it. They take more because the free market is always about profit.
Government is so much more than an entity that takes your money. Government, if done correctly, is an entity that uses that money to help everyone have a fuller and more fulfilling life. It does so many things we don’t even think about. It does so many things we all take for granted until we can’t afford to.
More importantly, the measure of our government and its officials comes in the quality of our lives. It comes in how well it responds to the crises that come along. It comes in how well it helps the least among us. The measure can never be how well it comforts the comfortable. If it gives me back a few dollars and neglects all of these other things then how good can it be really?