The Government Can't Do Anything Right, Except When It Does

I love hearing the Teabaggers and other conservatives rail against "big government". To hear them tell it, the government couldn't do anything right, especially deliver health care. It's been fascinating watching the stories come out this week about various Teabagger leaders, all calling for the government to get off my back, being on social security and disability, not to mention medicare and medicaid. Anyways, here is a little story about a girl named Kelly...

In 1969, the government was finally recognizing that smoking cigarettes was not only dangerous to your health, but also to the health of your fetus. Because of this, my Mother didn't smoke or drink while pregnant with me. I was born on January 2, 1970 at Hunter Air Base in Savannah, Georgia. The US military hospital that I was born in was run and funded by the government. The cost of my birth to my parents? One dollar. As a small child, we moved around a lot but the moving expenses were always picked up by the Army. We always lived on post, in military housing, always at a steep discount.

As I grew older, I began to attend public schools where I received an excellent education. Upon graduation from high school, I was accepted to and attended the University of Kentucky, the largest public university in the state. The University was created by the state legislature under a 19th century federal land grant and is partially funded by tax dollars. All of my professors were employees of the state government. While there, my health care was provided by University Health Services. If I got sick, I simply went to the University Clinic.

During my lifetime, I've flown on airplanes more times than I can count. I never once feared for my safety because of my faith in the government air traffic controllers. I also knew that my airplane had to meet very tight safety standards established by the Federal Aviation Administration. When I did fly, I would always drive to the airport on government built and funded roads. Those roads were safe because federal engineers had helped design them. The car I was driving was among the safest in the world because the US government mandates that auto companies build cars to rigid safety standards.

I bought my first home five years ago and received a first time home buyers credit and was financed through the Kentucky Housing Corporation, a government entity. I know that my home is well built because of local building standards enforced by local government. When I turn on my television, I'm pretty sure it won't explode because all appliances have to meet federal regulations. One of my favorite things to do is surf the web. I do that by logging onto an internet that was created by government workers at the Pentagon.

I don't really fear for my safety as it's a pretty safe neighborhood. If trouble were to arise however, I know that the Louisville Police Department, a local government agency, will be there to protect me. I also know that fire is unlikely because all of my furniture is designed to meet strict anti-fire standards set by the government. Still, fires do happen, but the Louisville Fire Department, another public service provider, is located just 2 blocks away.

I am one of those people who is blessed to have found a career that makes me happy. I teach school in a public elementary school. I get paid by the state and that paycheck makes it into my bank, which is federally insured, every two weeks. When I retire, I'll have a state pension to depend on and be eligible for medicare, the federal health insurance program for the elderly.

When I go on vacation, I love to escape into the woods and do some camping. I almost always choose a National Forest that is managed by and protected by the federal government. When I fill up my car with gasoline to go on vacation, I know that I'm getting exactly as much fuel as the pump says. Why? Because the state monitors all gasoline stations.

When I'm at home, I love to visit the great city parks here in Louisville. All of Metro Parks is run by the local city government. The parks are well maintained, safe (those police again) and a great way to unwind after watching the news on a broadcast wavelength provided to the station by the federal government.

I usually go out to eat a couple nights a week, nothing big, but still a nice treat. I don't worry about getting food sickness, not with the FDA and USDA monitoring food inspection. I also know that the local health department does surprise inspections of all restaurants and ensures that I am eating in a clean and safe environment. The fire marshal tends to visit from time to time make sure the restaurant is built to code and that it isn't violating any safety standards.

The water that gets served with my food is tasty, very tasty. It comes out of the tap and flows from the Ohio River after being treated by the Louisville Water Company, a publicly owned utility. The EPA and Clean Water Act makes sure that the water is safe to drink.

I have some really serious seasonal allergies and as a result, I have to take medicine to keep it under control. The FDA did a lot of testing on that medicine before it could be sold on the market. Also, the EPA has overseen a program to reduce pollution in our cities and as a result, the air is much cleaner than it used to be.

This past winter brought a lot of snow. The city did a great job of plowing that snow and keeping the roads safe for all of us. The potholes that were created this winter are currently being fixed by the city and state. When it was cold, I was able to turn on my furnace to stay warm. The natural gas that heats my house was most likely mined on federal lands that were leased to oil and gas companies. It safely makes it's way to my house because of regulations on how pipelines must be built.

When my time on this planet is up, I can be buried if I so choose. I'll rest easy knowing that it's a crime to desecrate a grave. My family will rest easy knowing that the funeral home and cemetery must do things by the book. The court system will ensure that my estate is turned over to whomever I wish.

So yeah, I guess the Teabaggers are right. The government can't do anything. Except when they do.


Jill Davidson | March 28, 2010 at 11:59 PM

Great post! Great summary of - we get what we pay for, and there's a lot we get from government.

I noticed you said you work for a school district. I do too. And I will be transitioning full time June 23, with my first day at work as Jill September 7. I don't know anyone in my profession (school psychology) who has transitioned, but I would love to have friends who are transitioning in school districts to compare notes.

I used to live in Richmond, KY.

JACQ | March 29, 2010 at 1:02 AM

Amen to that post, Kelly! Isn't it amazing to think also how many military people support the right, yet they benefit so much from government support? I remember once upon a time in a land very far away, when I was hetero married to an air force guy. I never paid for healthcare, to go to the dentist, etc. and when we lived in Europe, we could fly to other countries for only $10. Hmmmmmm...

So much of this opposition is based on FEAR. Plain and simple. Homophobia and racism, all based on FEAR.