Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Put me in, Coach....

Many years ago, when I was attending Millville Grade School in rural Henry County, physical education classes hadn’t even been imagined. What we did have was morning and afternoon recess. After the teachers finished their smoke break in the Teachers Lounge/Furnace Room, they would join the students on the playground and organize a softball game.

The team captains were nearly always the same, a couple of athletically gifted and overly developed 6th graders, and they nearly always made the same choices when filling their team’s roster. And, when the teams’ starting line-ups and the suitable subs were chosen, the same few students were usually standing along the baselines, ashamedly looking at the ground and kicking in the dirt, and feigning disinterest.

Invariably, two of the sideline standers were myself and my old pal, Stinky Wilmont. Now admittedly, I wasn’t the most prolific player in Millville. Even with a couple layers of cardboard in the heels of my Red Ball Jets, I was barely 4 foot tall, and not much of a threat at the plate or on the bases. But I was hard to pitch to, and unless the umpire was a buddy of the pitcher, I could almost always make it to first base on a walk.

Stinky was a lot bigger, and he could hit, throw and catch with the best of them, but he was incorrigible to say the least, and sadly lacking in social skills, even by Millville Grade School standards. Still, we thought that given the chance, we had something to contribute to the game. But neither team seemed to have a place for us.

I’ve had the same feeling of being left out for the last couple of weeks. You see, I’m one of those people who believe government should be small and fiscally conservative. Kind of like the Republican Party used to believe. But in the last two weeks I listened to Governor Daniel’s State of the State Address, where he called for more government intervention in education, and more government intervention in healthcare. He also called for more taxes at the local level, but didn’t offer a single cut at the state level. Outside of a couple of privatization issues, he sure sounded a lot like a Democrat.

Then I listened to another Republican, President George Bush, give his State of the Union Address. And I heard another Republican call for more government intervention in education, and more government intervention in healthcare. It was the same Republican that called for increased spending no less than eight times during his speech, spending that will add a couple of trillion dollars to our national debt before he leaves office. It seems that now the Democrats are the ones calling for a balanced budget, but their solution rests on increasing taxes, not in the more libertarian solution of cutting spending.

To listen to people talk, there are a lot of taxpayers around that are feeling as neglected as Stinky and me. Maybe it’s time for all of the smaller government advocates out there to get off of the sidelines, join a team that really represents their beliefs, (like the Libertarian Party, perhaps), and get in the game.

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