Government - What's It Good For by Mike Alivernia

Author of the Month

Government - What's It Good For
By Mike Alivernia

The Mind of Mike Alivernia

Mind of Mike's regular column


What do you expect from your government?

Don't we want our military proactive, with never wavering resolve in combating threats to it's people and sovereignty? Aren't we right to expect a foreign or natural born threat to the State, to be treated as an enemy regardless of race, creed, or nationality? Isn't it in my young family's best interests, to seek out leaders for our government, who use every means available and necessary, to ensure I can expect a safe day downtown, and spend my time and money with nary a worry of a suicide bomber, a pressure cooker in the trashcan on the corner, or a U-haul truck backed up to the stadium secretly packed like a powder keg full of fertilizer? Who would feel unjust in expecting the return on nearly 20% of all Federal spending, to result in the most technologically advanced organization of intelligence gathering; through means as covert, as they are “one step ahead of the bad guys”? Don't the vast majority of humans agree; that it's as important to protect our children from physical harm while they attend school everyday, as it is to properly vet those teachers and institutions of knowledge, entrusted with the task of leading our future generations of every socioeconomic group onward and upward? How is it presumptuous to want for a communal peace keeping outfit that live, serve and protect locally, with the unbiased, greater good always at the center of it's actions; while fully understanding such a public policing venture can and should never be governed by individual, for-profit companies? Shouldn't the outcome of locking a human being up in a 9'x9' room, and completely assuming control over said individual; only be done when proved beyond any reasonable doubts, this person has perpetrated a crime that the undeniable majority of us agree upon as unconscionable? I believe this to be the very broad tip of the iceberg, when beginning a simple list of useful benefits everyone of us should expect to glean from a lifetime in a “free democratic society”. We can't expect - in this haven of capitalism and monetarily motivated advancements - that fire protection, simple bridge and road maintenance, education, health care, or law making and the judicial system in general, could ever be produced in a sustainable fashion for any amount of time without the community's benevolently guiding, and useful organizing force (a functioning government). With that being said, one would be foolish to ignore the mountain of misguided milieus that current policies and ideologies regarding everything from “The War On Drugs” and “The War On Terror”, to “The Militant Atheist Movement” and the “Tea Party”, have found our community in.

Is Size Really Everything?

Aren't these very standards that we have grown to expect, the reason behind the manifestation of so many questions and fears about the current trajectory of growth in the overall size, and varied functions of separate bureaucracies that our government has assured us are necessary for ensuring our relatively safe lifestyles? I see the size of government to be a product of an ever fluid proposition - keeping our burgeoning community as safe, smart, and shared as humanly possible. The idea that “less government” is the cure all, end all, be all for capitalism and freedom to be realized in it's truest state, is a fallacy. It is regurgitated so frequently, and by peoples from so many walks of life; it can surely be nothing more than the current, popular political talking point; streamlined from the Congressman who spends a few million of “his own funds” and political “donations”, to win an election that elicits a couple hundred thousand in salary, on down to the family of four earning $100,000 a year who think said Congressman has their best interests at heart. Are you more comfortable with voting for a human being who will stand before all the world and proclaim with a straight face, the very job they are begging the public for, is part of the problem? Are these the actions of bold mavericks, bucking the accepted dysfunctions in our ruling body, or nothing more than the most obvious practice in misdirection; the way the street thief keeps your eyes off the prize, as they clean your pockets and purse? I want straight forward ways to make our systems better for the peoples they are meant to serve and protect. A person who will tell you from one side of their mouth that government in general is your major problem in life; while doing nothing more than using it to the benefit of whoever butters their party's and their own personal bread, isn't what we would consider transparent, right? Do you want less government when it comes to the amount of police patrolling your neighborhood, fixing the potholes on your street, or the placing of parks for your children to peacefully play? Of course, the only argument I find necessary, but have yet to find many takers on lately, is this. How can we make our governing bodies better, regardless of size? How should our military and executive branch best maintain our safety from radical ideology and lead the global evolution away from imperialism and dictatorships, while ensuring the IRS can properly feign competency, and having an unfailing system of background checks to know enough about every elementary school janitor to guarantee our children's safety? Shouldn't every facet of the establishment begin operating in such an honest and transparent fashion, that the justified revulsion both my “conservative” and “liberal” countrymen harbor - of completely unchecked, faceless bureaucracies using their positions of power for the putrid personification of the private perversion of public office - can soon become a forgotten fear? How are we to find laws and regulations that a country with 300 million individuals, living in vastly different regions, with completely opposing moral and personal standards and expectations from this life, can agree upon?

How are we to achieve a more perfect Union?

I feel confused every time I hear a teen speak of the value of their vote as an illusion worth nothing more than the $5 of gas to get to the hall and back.... I feel disheartened to hear a wise but jaded adult speak of the “powers that be”, owning the machines and writing the software that count the votes, and how the good ol' boys who pick and choose which topics are up for debate, haven't in their lifetime gotten around to doing anything they promised.... I am stunned to hear a “middle class”, blue collar person proudly pronounce that they'd prefer 100% less government in their lives – a misguided and overused, streamlined talking point - which is piglatin for no taxes, or restrictions on their religion, their favorite recreations or their means for earning money. I, unlike these other good Americans, am a trite bit more optimistic. Realistically, wouldn't the “best way” - for our vehemently resisted role of “big brother” in our lives - to achieve that beautiful median of wonderfully effective public policies and agreed upon morals in the communities in which we live; include a shift in the general public's view of their own role in government? By empowering the people through real involvement in the worthwhile roles of law making and the decision making processes currently left up to politicians that are voted into office and promptly plucked from the real world and placed in state or country capitals - instantly skewing their connection to the “people” they “represent” - would we feel so disenfranchised? I propose that every four years, along with the Presidential election, there would be included an itemized list of around 50-100 laws up for either vote in or vote out. These would be laws that the general public would simply decide are no longer correct in some way; or conversely, that a law needs to be put into place that is not. If a simple majority of the general population deems that a law needs to be altered, abolished or created, it would be put on the following mid-term ballots for a final vote, to be put into immediate action upon it's passing. If in any one state, the initial count is of ¾ or higher, it would be automatically implemented locally, without waiting for the secondary national vote. In these cases, if the laws in any state become unique from the union, they would find federal immunity under the “Transparency in Lawmaking Condition” (TLC) provision, which allows citizen voters to live by the values they deem fit. There would need to be a simple, and readily accessible website for every American to interact with year-round, on which simple polling would gather the usable list of laws up for consideration every 4 years. This idea may sound radical or ridiculous to anyone who is pleased with the current concoction of loopholes created by the companies that buy and sell Washington and federal laws telling urban hippies in California that they need to follow the same rules and lifestyle choices that the peach farmers in Georgia find beneficial. More to the point, if you believe it to be in our nation's best interest, for the Federal Government to be able to use it's constantly evaporating resources, in the political pouncing and utter trampling of individuals following state laws, or for any reason any low level member of the NSA sees fit; then go ahead and stop voting now, for you must be ecstatic with life in our current manifestation of this “free and democratic” society.

PS

Who isn't appalled at the fact that the “terrorists” who recently brought our worldwide economy to it's knees, have already won the fight internally long ago; when as a nation, America sat by and watched our judiciary branch allow corporations with more money than some countries, to “lobby” the legislative branch so vigorously, that they were able to ensure themselves legal immunity and public anonymity using vehicles that ignore “common sense and the common good”, like a Super PAC - http://uspolitics.about.com/od/firstamendment/a/What-Is-A-Super-Pac.htm, and that there are little to no legal means left, to stop a Monsanto from legally buying a Blunt: http://www.motherjones.com/tom-philpott/2013/04/sen-roy-blunt-monsantos-man-washington? Who isn't more than a little terrified to learn, when we're able to take time away from the importance of camping, softball games, grocery store runs, dance recitals, church functions, careers, etc.; that there is a former contractor of the National Security Administration who has found himself in the midst of a wretched movie script, thrown out in the mid 70's for it's unbelievability? How can a world of 7.1 billion people, 257 countries, and literally an unending list of state, regional, tribal, and local municipalities and governing entities; find themselves in a community honest and organized enough to begin to deal with the “Snowden Scenario”? Momentarily looking past the battle over what any, one, well intentioned whistle blower should do with information they deem worthy of becoming public knowledge; isn't this whole “catch me if you can” international duck and dodge game of political posturing, just a little too unsettling http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-snowden-20130704,0,1023363.story? The interesting phenomenon, of escalating espionage induced hysteria that has ensued, following an attempt to add transparency to one government's veiled functions pointed at it's own people; is truly the type of thing that will only become a more frequent occurrence as our progression into a facebook style of expecting to know everything everyone does, erodes away at the cloaks and daggers used by those in power. More specifically, as long as the lowliest peasant of our times can walk freely into a library, sit down, and plug into an unprecedented free flow of information and the exact same wealth of knowledge anyone else possesses - previously pinned up and kept as the proverbial golden goose, laying eggs of fortune for the lucky few who owned hereditary access to it - the playing field will continue to be drastically altered and leveled! I suppose the freedom of thought embodied by, and that is truly the driving force behind, the internet; may be humanity's best recorded chance yet to realize a world in which we can all live as equals. Let us never allow politics to piss in the pool of progress......

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