As Barrack Obama takes a somewhat deserved drubbing for him implementation of Obama Care and Rob Ford (AKA, the crack smoking mayor) remains oddly popular despite self destructing in every conceivable way, I am reflecting these days on what do we expect from our elected officials and from government in general.
Looking at some recent polling, it is amazing how similar are the things most of us want. Not all, but a significant majority of us:
– want everyone to have access to affordable health care, even if we all have to pay something to ensure this universality;
– want our environment protected from threats of pollution, global warming
– want every kids to have access to a first rate education, no matter where they are born
Not surprisingly, we understand that these services do no come cheap. And despite what Fox News might sensationalize us into believing, we do not think that poor people are living off the sweat equity of the rich; nor do we believe that environmental and social concerns are the fabrication of an elitist liberal technocracy.
What we disagree on is how to get there. Liberals tend to believe that government should take the lead. Conservatives feel government will screw it up.
So here is my thinking, and the reason I find myself increasingly pissed off at conservatives these days.
Liberals are, perhaps naively, giving government the benefit of the doubt and giving them mandate to try to advance these issues. Do liberals believe government is good at this? No. But government is the only societal player with the tools to possibly deal with issues that are this complex and needing so many tools to resolve. Liberals are willing to work with government to make it work.
And Conservatives…, they are taking the Homer Simpson approach – remember when Ned Flanders was coaching the kids’ football team and Homer is harassing hime from the bleachers. Lisa: “Its’s easy to criticize”; Homer: “And fun too”. Conservatives ostensibly want these issues addressed but they oppose the only institution potentially capable of doing so. And they have NO solution on the alternative means. Interestingly, almost all of the discussion on the “third way” or alternative means of achieving positive social outcomes is also being led by the left.
Government is far form perfect, but if you are unwilling to work with it to make it better and are also unwilling to propose an alternate solution, you are the problem. Take note conservatives.