One sign reads, “I-Zoom;” the other, “Cash and Credit.” Reacting too slowly, I enter the latter lane. Preceding me is a 1980’s Buick. A pale, thin, senior citizen arm extends from its window and attempts to swipe a credit card. The now unsteady hand pushes buttons, but the gate doesn’t budge. Visibly shaking, the hand retracts, only to remerge trying to insert a bill and coins. Traffic is building; horns are beginning to blare. The hand’s tremor increases; the panic is palpable. It is difficult to watch. Relief! Finally, the indicator flashes, “PAID;” the gate raises; the elderly woman and her companion are emancipated. They proceed down the Indiana Toll Road.
Subsequently, I approach the less-than-user-friendly machine and notice the yellow “No Attendant on Duty” sign plastered on the window of the vacant tollbooth. The State of Indiana has determined that eliminating an employee, an “attendant”, a public servant is of a higher priority than helping its visitors and its citizens. “Cut the government payroll” has become the mantra of the Tea Party driven Republicans. At what cost?
I segue to the recall vote of Wisconsin’s Governor Walker. A day prior to that vote, I speak to a neighbor couple. They are good people. Both are high school graduates; she does clerical work, and he works on the line at a non-union candy bar wrapper plant. I query them as to whom they might be voting for. They indicate that they view both candidates as the “same”, but they would vote for Walker. Why? Because teachers are overpaid. I ask another neighbor why Walker targeted the collective bargaining rights of teachers, but not those of firefighters and police officers. He replies, “They are important.” Evidentially, he forgets that I was a teacher for over twenty years. Additionally, he is unaware that the police and firefighter unions supported the politically savvy Walker in his first run for governor. Divide and conquer.
Dems mention our nation’s growing income inequality and Republicans bellow, “Class warfare!” Truth be told, we have class warfare now! However, it’s not between the classes, but within the classes. The lower and middle classes have been misled into eating their own in order to satisfy the gluttony of our wealthiest and most privileged.
“The purpose of government is to enable the people of a nation to live in safety and happiness. Government exists for the interests of the governed, not for the governors.” ― Thomas Jefferson
The Koch brothers, Adelson, and their ilk appear to be on the path to be the controllers, hence the governors of this nation, a nation whose government would exist for their and only their interests.
Let’s face it. The superrich have little need for government services. Unless they are the recipients of government largess a’ la Halliburton, it is a hindrance. Billionaires do not need: public schools, public transportation, Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, universal health care, or pensions. Unless offered ambassadorial appointments, they don’t want nor need government jobs for their kids..
Superrich Machiavellian gamesters and their minions have brilliantly manipulated a sizeable portion of our population to be jealous and envious of the people, the public servants, who “enable the people of a nation to live in safety and happiness.”
Apparently, it is easy to generate middle and lower class envy towards the bus driver, the teacher, the toll taker, the postman, or the union plumber. We know him; he is our neighbor; he isn’t that special. The only difference is that he has better job security, wages and benefits than us. So we ask ourselves, “Why the hell should he get more than us while being paid with our tax dollars? Let’s take away his!”
It is astounding that so many of us can be manipulated into thinking that a lady living in a bungalow, driving a Chevy and teaching kids is a greedy bastard, but a Sheldon Adelson or the Koch Brothers, who garner (I can’t use the word, “earn”) over three million dollars an hour somehow deserve their pay. It is the American Lie, and it is seemingly unchallengeable.(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vEoJ12lsYrU)
Public servants serve us, the public. When we eliminate their jobs, or make their jobs less attractive, we lower the quality of not only their lives, but ours as well. All of us should be paid fairly, and protected from financial ruin due to illness and/or old age. We all deserve that.
Someone please tell me why the Kochs and Adelsons of this nation can’t share a bit of what they garner so that we all can have a better chance to live a life of safety and happiness.
It is the have-nothings against the have-littles while the billionaires have at it. It sadly appears that more and more of us will be struggling to just get by; finding ourselves on the tollway to a better future with no change and no attendant on duty.