At the age of 50 years old, I have contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to the United States government. I’m sure someone knows how much precisely, but I don’t. However, I do know it’s somewhere between a crap-ton and a shitload. My taxes have funded untold amounts of unnecessary military expenditures (and probably some necessary ones, there is no way to tell). Senators, Congressmen, and an endless string lackeys (some, I assume, were used by good people) have feasted and traveled on my dime. There has been boondoggles, pork projects, and tit for tat bargains stretching off as far as the eye can see, all on my taxes… and yours too.
For most of my life I have been told that I will likely never benefit from any of the money I’m required to pay into Social Security. I guess because someone else needed it, or something. They weren’t supposed to take it, but they did… and no one stopped them. Of course, if I get frustrated and stop “contributing” I will surely go to jail. And I still won’t ever see those benefits.
There are towns across the country with crumbling roads, poisoned water, and bridges that are more rust than metal. The bridges get upgraded less and less these days, instead they are triaged more and more. That comes out of my taxes too. And like most things, it costs more to repair this stuff than it does to maintain it, but that’s the next guy’s problem, right?
I work for a public school system, a target for any fiscal conservative. Therefore, pay increases have finally reversed direction from job performance. The same can be said for workplace morale, and parental indignation… or even staff payroll, and district budgets. Somehow this is supposed to prove that public education doesn’t work… yeah, I don’t get it either. Raises are hard to come by these days, unless you’re in Congress. Congress has never failed to give themselves decent raise, or three.
Soon Mitch McConnell and a whole bunch of politicians will vote as one (one political party, that is), to get rid of healthcare coverage for lots of people. Why? Good question. I can give you a dozen answers, all somewhat correct. But the truth is, that it’s what they been told/asked/threatened/bribed/want to do. They have also been given strict talking points by the same people who have told/asked/threatened/bribed/want them to vote this way. These talking points help them explain to you why you unconsciously want them to get rid of your actual healthcare, in favor of a really great conceptual one. And no, if they take away your healthcare, they won’t give any of the money back. Get real. And yes, you will still be required to pay the taxes for it.
So, lately I have been trying to avoid blogging about politics. It’s just too easy to wonk about this stuff, no matter where you stand politically. But, because so many people are overwhelmed, worried and anxious about losing their healthcare, this blog entry is actually doubling as a post about mental health.
Suffering is an option. An option we elect each time we read, or watch the news about politics, and the healthcare debate. But it doesn’t need to be that way.
Meditation is a wonderful tool that you can use to get perspective on these things. If you’re reading this, feel free to let me know if you think a simple beginners guide to meditation would be helpful for you. And once you learn it, they can’t tax it!