Tax Day

     I paid $34 a week in taxes last year for the privilege of earning my living in Vermont, and $125 a week for the privilege of earning a living in the United States.
     And it is a privilege. I’m not being snotty about it.
     I’m not a Republican.
     I like living in the United States, despite the bilge spewed day after day by Super Patriots who tell us, at high volume, that we are living in a state approaching Tyranny, and that the Malefactor in Chief is the Government of the United States, which makes us – The Horror! – pay taxes.
     I was culling jazz CDs from a used-record store the other day and I heard the young woman who works there, a Hip Chick with a ring in her nose, who in my salad days would have been marching against war and racism, griping about having to pay taxes.
     What a Country of Whiners we have become.
     It is tricky and can be dangerous to write about a National Character, though anyone who has spent much time in other countries can wax eloquent upon it.
     There is no doubt, for instance, that a new acquaintance you make in Mexico will be more likely to invite you into his home than a new friend you make in France.
     There is little doubt that if you walk around with $100 bills sticking out of your pocket you will be safer in Switzerland or Japan than in the United States.
     And there is no doubt that if you go to any country in Latin America and try to communicate in vile Spanish, most people will listen to you respectfully, and try to help you out – whereas if you come here from there, and try to communicate in broken English, you are more likely to be met with hostility, and these days, possibly arrest.
     I don’t think the government is oppressing me by making me pay taxes.
     I was educated in government-funded schools. I drive on government-built roads. The government built the airports and dams and electric grid I use. The government helped clean up the air I breathe, the water I fish in and drink, and when I get old it will help pay for my health care.
     Socrates drank the hemlock because, he said, his government had condemned him to death, and he thought it was a good government – it had educated him and brought him up to pursue The Good.
     And Socrates was a great man.
     Not too many Great Men around today in this country that I can see – with the possible exception of Bernie Sanders.
     Here’s another thing I do not believe.
     I do not believe that if someone punches me in the nose, that gives me the right to invade his house, and the houses of his neighbors, and burn them down, and kill their wives and sons and daughters, and change the laws in their towns to make them laws that I like.
     Though that seems to be the basis of U.S. foreign policy today.
     I disagree with a lot of stuff going on in this country.
     I think the U.S. Congress has been infiltrated by racists and neo-fascists, and that nearly all of them are on the take, and that their jobs could be done better, and more fairly, by 535 housewives chosen at random from our 50 states.
     I think a lot of bankers and real-estate tycoons, starting with Angelo Mozilo, should be prosecuted, and perhaps, executed.
     I’m willing to pay for this.
     But I don’t think it’s unfair that I have to pay taxes, even though very little of my money is used to pay for things that I would like, such as vide supra.
     Liberal Democrats, like me, have been accused for decades of being un-American and worse. Right-wing Republicans have claimed, for decades, to be the Only True Believers in The American Way, and Freedom, and So On.
     What a bunch of crap. If Republicans think they are living under Tyranny here because they have to Pay Taxes, let them go back where their ancestors came from, and pay taxes there.
     Perhaps you have noticed that I have been capitalizing words apparently At Random. It’s not random, actually. It’s Germanic. They capitalize a lot of words over there.
     Maybe we should have a Congressional Committee Investigate That, when they get through with the U.S. Muslims.
     We could send the Republican Caucus over to Germany to investigate.
     They might like it over there.
     That would solve two problems. It would get the Republicans Away From Us, and they might be able to reduce the Poor Germans’ taxes.

%d bloggers like this: