15 December 2010

Just Resting My Eyes

Yep, it's been a while since I dropped you a line. The holiday thing is a lot of work, good work, but a lot nonetheless. And our stocking was made even fuller this week as we now have three memorial services to prepare before Christmas Eve.

Now, I want to stomp around about the new tax bill, but Bernie Sanders did that far better than I ever could. He is a senator after all. But then I ran into this thoughtful piece by David Leonhardt, which picks up on a theme I articulated in the UUWorld back in 2006. I felt better, more expansive.

This law should it pass, thought I today, is but the next law in a series of laws that will come and go. There is no last word on taxes or jobs.

It is not right to protect the very rich, especially in the despicable way it wraps the uber-rich in the mantle of being really just middle class 'plus.' And because it is unfair to single out one group to carry more of a burden, the rich being somewhat afflicted you see, and therefore not unlike slaves or immigrants who were made to do more work than the others. All Americans are equal, right? And in these difficult times we need a sense of unity, and so everyone should be treated the same when it comes to taxes. Shoulder to shoulder, right?

(Breath in, breathe out. Aum.)

I'm enjoying my equanimity this evening so let me take the high ground instead.

Unquestionably, the immense disparity of the have-a-whole-lots and have-a-lot-lesses is not only morally perilous it is probably socially dangerous, as we now have a greater gulf between the wealthy and the poor than those backward central American nations with their semi annual coups and rotating juntas.

There will be another law, a better one perhaps. As one who feels deeply the tragic algebra of power, back to fabled Oedipus and Croesus, I have absolute faith in the law of Compensation, as Emerson called it (although I do not share his view of it). We will push back to the monied interests eventually. But like a spring being coiled, the longer it takes the more intense the eventual reaction.

That, to me, is what government is for. It governs the steam engine of society, if you will. When it gets too hot, it lets off steam before the whole thing blow up. When it is too cool it adds energy to make sure the engine does not come to a halt. And the art is keeping it from going from one extreme to another. Who would use a train that went from 0 t0 60 and back again, over and over?

So be of good heart, friends. The law is bad, but there will be another. If we are wise, that is. If not, 'fasten your seat belts. We're in for a bumpy ride.'

(Apologies to Bette Davis, and sorry for the mixed metaphor.)

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