I spent last week in a seminar to learn the ins and outs for an online database application for a client that I’m working with. The seminar was held in a little town about an hour’s train ride outside of New York City and very close to Connecticut. The misses and I drove the one thousand miles one way trip with our five year old son and made the trip a working vacation. She had never been to the east coast and I hadn’t spent much time their either so we were going to take full advantage of this opportunity.
The seminar was very successful. I learned a considerable appreciation for the online application I went to study and got more than a few ideals about future database application development. The misses and son spent their time exploring the area, chasing chipmunks, and studying a few artificial waterfalls at the resort we were staying. We all enjoyed ourselves and considered the trip a very successful one.
Saturday morning we started on the long drive home. While traveling through Pennsylvania along interstate 78 heading west, we saw a political billboard along the side of the highway that briefly summed up the record of President Obama as making the American people less free, endorsing bigger government, and responsible for fifteen percent “real” unemployment. The misses and I had to laugh at the sign and wondered what could anybody point to that would support the contention that Mr. Obama made the American people less free now than they were three years ago. We wondered what would has Mr. Obama done that has made the American government bigger than it was three years ago. We found the contention that Mr. Obama was responsible for the current unemployment rate dubious considering the fact that when Mr. Obama took over the reins of the country the American people were in the middle of an economic freefall resulting from the policies enacted from the previous administration. Blaming Mr. Obama for the unemployment rate would be akin to blaming firemen for the fire that burned the building down.
The sign went on to say that it was paid for by the local tea party. I just knew I had my inspiration for my next article. But by the time we read the sign we were passed it, traveling home at the illegal rate of eighty five miles per hour in a sixty five zone. I would’ve liked to have taken a picture of the sign. But it would have been miles before we would come to our next exit. With so many miles of travel ahead of us, turning around was not even close to being an option. I would look on the internet to find an image of the sign. Unfortunately, I never did find an image of it.
As we traveled down the highway the misses and I thought about what the country would be like if the tea party ran things. The tea party, with its single minded focus on cutting taxes and keeping government from being able to do much of anything to help support the development of our national infrastructure. The misses actually summed it up very well. If the nation followed a tea party mindset, chances are we wouldn’t have our interstate system that enabled us to travel so quickly and easily. The government would have never made the investment into the nation’s interstate highway system that so many people take for granted. We would still be stuck on a network of local roads with varying standards of design and maintenance.
One thing that made our travel so easy and painless was the navigation application that came with our android phone. We entered our destination into the phone and the global positioning system that the government developed guided us directly to where we wanted to go without a single wrong turn, just as long as you paid attention to the instructions the device was giving. And when you did happen to make a wrong turn, the device quickly calculated a new route to put you on track.
The billboard was gone. But I was going to use the internet to see if I could find a copy of the sign left by somebody else. Regardless, I would use the internet to let other people know how I felt about the sign and about the tea party. The same people who talk about getting government out of their lives would be using the same internet made possible by the government to tell people that the government needs to be made smaller and ineffective, so that the developments that would take us further into the future would be made totally unlikely to ever see the light of day. The tea party would prefer to dismantle our educational system that would make all the thinkers, scientists, dreamers, and the rest of us that make it possible for us to make the progress to keep us forever moving forward.
The sign reminded us that we need to keep working and making sure that government, the collective of people who come together to assure that the welfare of the nation is protected and developed to its fullest potential possible, is protected from people who don’t have the vision to see the benefits of investing into the future as a nation. Without the government the seminar that I attended would not have been possible. The highway system, the internet, the global positioning system, and many other things wouldn’t be possible if our government didn’t do its part to make progress possible. No corporation could ever do what our government has done.
To add just one more caveat to the mix, it was a federal government that made it possible for a couple of black people to pack their son into a car and travel across the country with some semblance of security that they would arrive safely to participate in the development of database applications as entrepreneurs for a fledgling software company. While the system is far from fair, without the federal government the second class status of black people would be even worse than it is now. It’s the government that initiated the social economic change that is helping to dismantle the bigotry that would have black people exist at white people’s property. The way a lot of people in the tea party operate, their against that kind of progress as well.