Thursday, June 30, 2011

Thursday Thirteen

Monday is July 4, which is the day Americans celebrate the signing of the Declaration of Independence. This document proclaimed that the geographic area and its people, now known as the United States, would no longer be a part of Great Britain. It was signed in 1776.

After a period of time - over a decade - the US Constitution was implemented, creating the framework for government.

I happen to be a fan of government. I think government does very good things, and is quite necessary in order to ensure law, justice, and a semblance of equality. Yes, there may be problems in some areas, but it is not the evil that some make it out to be.

Our government is made up of you and me. Government workers are our neighbors, our friends, our spouses, and our children. All they are doing is trying to earn a living and help out their communities. They are not villains.  They have cookouts on the Fourth of July, too.

So in these days when it is fashionable to blame government and bash government workers, I offer up a short list of 13 things I think government does well. Please note this list could actually be longer!

1. Builds roads and bridges. We can't even afford to pave the driveway, much less create roads. If the roads were private and we had to pay tolls, how much more than what you pay in taxes do you think you'd eventually pay out? And if the roads were just ruts and not kept up, how much more would your repair costs be?

2. Police officers, firefighters, and emergency service workers are paid for with tax dollars. They are there to assist, aid, and keep the peace. These are dedicated men and women who want only the best for you and yours.

3. The US Postal Service delivers our mail. Even at 44 cents an envelope, it's still not a bad deal.

4. Thanks to government oversight, we have some modest assurance that our drugs and medications are relatively safe. Personally, I think this needs more regulation and more eyes and bodies to make this a better service, but I am glad something is in place to help ensure that my blood pressure medication doesn't kill me before I'm ready to go.

5. The courts, laws, and judges are in place through our tax dollars and are a part of the government. If nothing else, this at least guarantees us a fair hearing when we are wronged or have done wrong.

6. Social Security. This is a great program and it keeps millions of people from dying prematurely every year. I have read many older newspapers through my work and research. Old people used to end up in something called the poor house, or they'd simply starve to death in the streets, before Social Security was put in place. Is that really something we want to return to?

7. Water and sewer infrastructure. Thank goodness for these items, which keep water supplies healthy and have cut down on diseases. Without sewer, waste would be dumped in the streets as it used to be in days long forgotten. How would you like to wade down Main Street through piles of human filth?

8. The Center for Disease Control. This is important in order to keep things like HIV, tuberculosis, whooping cough, and other killer diseases under control and in some cases eradicated. Without government funding, would these diseases ever be cured or controlled?

9. Public education. Say what you will about public schools, the best thing about public education in this country is that it is available to all. Anyone can attend school and learn to read, write, and do math, regardless of race, gender, or religion. It is one of the country's greatest accomplishments.

10. The Freedom of Information Act. FOIA laws, also known as Sunshine Laws, allow you and me to learn what municipalities from the lowliest town council to Congress are doing when you're not at the meeting. Thanks to FOIA, government has to be open and honest, and the laws are in place because government listened and thoughtful people realized the importance of open information and dialogue.

11. Public libraries. Public libraries are open to everyone, without discrimination, and are places of learning and community. Best of all, most of them are free, making education and learning available to all. Truly, ignorance is no excuse.

12. The FDIC. This insures your money in the bank up to $100,000. Previously, if the banker ran off with all the dough in the vault, that was too bad. At least now you have a little recourse. And let's face it, not many of us has that kind of money socked away anyhow.

13. The Armed Forces. I do not approve of wars in general, but I understand the need for a defense. An army under control of this government is not supposed to turn on its own citizens. An army under control of a private company might very well do just that.

I could go on - how about the FAA, Uniform Building Codes, NASA, weather, E-911, Head Start, Extension Offices, Medicare . . .


Thursday Thirteen is played by lots of people; there is a list here. I've been playing for a while and this is my 197th time to do a list of 13 on a Thursday.

9 comments:

  1. That is a great list. It calls up so many things all of us just take for granted. And as a history buff, in the footsteps of my Daddy, I enjoyed it.

    Thank you :-)

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  2. Good list, though I'm not a fan of ALL the programs you mentioned. Government is necessary, tho.

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  3. Great list. I'd love to say something about how most of government is admirable, but fear of bureaucracy holds me back.

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  4. Excellent post. It's shameful the way some people in this country are trying to erode these basic services and rights. Have a great 4th!

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  5. What a nice post! It's so refreshing to see someone celebrate what's right w/government. Thank you.

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  6. It's hard, in the face of such exuberance, for a curmudgeon like me to cling to my carping ways. It's a good thing, I guess, we're here to balance each other out.

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  7. Ditto! I was rooting for a health care public option.

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