Tax Day

     I do not understand how Americans do their taxes. I swear I do not.
     I’ve always been good at math. I can do square roots in my head. I remember the Binomial Theorem. I had eight years of college – without repeating a grade – and can afford TurboTax, which I just used to do my taxes.
     But I don’t have a clue what I just did.
     I just wrote the checks and sent them in.
     I don’t mind paying taxes.
     I really don’t.
     It’s the price I pay for living in a free society.
     It’s the price I pay so that when I need to call the police they are not so pitifully underpaid they will beat and rob me and rape my wife.
     Most of the world, I’m afraid, cannot say that.
     Most of the world would not dare to call their own police.
     Taxes are the price I pay for driving on paved roads.
     For having been educated.
     For having clean water in the stream right across the street from my house.
     For having a semi-functional justice system, even if it is for sale at the highest levels.
     I don’t mind paying the federal government a few pennies every year to maintain our National Parks – whether I visit them or not – or to pay a few dollars for public education – though my children are out of school and grown – or to insure my money from the criminals who run the banks.
     That’s why I find it perplexing that our country’s Super Patriots – the Republican Party – bases its very heart’s blood – which is money – upon running down the government.
     Federal, state, local: It makes no difference to those guys – Government Is Evil.
     Then, how can those guys claim to be patriots?
     And why do they keep running for office?
     If you love your country, don’t you have to have to like the government, at least a little bit?
     Especially if you are taking millions of dollars, or hundreds of millions of dollars, to run for office?
     I’m not talking about government reform. We’re all for reform.
     I’m asking why so many of my 310 million fellow Americans swallow the Republican Party’s bullshit: that All Government Is Evil.
     Actually, I do understand this.
     The Republican Party says this because they are the highest-paid water boys in the world.
     And the Democratic Party follows them behind, like ragged clowns, begging for pennies that spill from the Republicans’ cup.
     I’m 60 years old. I won’t live too much longer – 10, 20, 30 years, if I’m lucky.
     I’m glad I will die before I see what America becomes.
     I love my country. I don’t mind paying taxes to it.
     Go the National Mall. Go to our National Parks. Or to a state park. Or to a park in the middle of your town.
     Who paid for that? Who dreamed it up?
     Go to any of our public schools – once the best schools in the world.
     Go to our public universities – once the best universities in the world.
     Go to your public library – but check the hours, first.
     Look at our great rivers: the Mississippi and Missouri, the Susquehanna, the Yukon, the Columbia, the Canadian, the Ouachita, the Niobrara and the Rio Grande.
     There are still fish in them. There are frogs and other amphibians, wildflowers on the banks. You probably won’t get cancer if you have to drink from them.
     The rivers are not on fire, as Lake Erie was before the United States government decided, with the support of its people, to spend public money to save us from the corporations.
     We’ll elect a new government in seven months.
     From now until then, all you’ll hear from one side is vile, bile and venom about government.
     I don’t think the government is as bad as all that.
     It could be a lot worse. And probably will be. Because the Democratic Party, for reasons that escape me, has become so incompetent, so captive, so cowardly, that it seems incapable of saying – or hiring someone to say for it – what I’ve just said.

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