Rule #154: A simple wish
Simpler is not always better. There’s lots of talk about making the tax code simpler, or repealing one existing law for every new law, or making a slimmer health care bill. “You could do your taxes on the back of a postcard!” “The country has too many laws.” Um, no.
First off, I don’t want to do my taxes on the back of a postcard any more than I want Exxon-Mobil doing theirs that way. As far as time-suckers go, filling out my 1040-EZ takes about two commercial breaks, tops. Those with more complicated forms generally employ help and, even if they don’t, probably find the deduction process worthwhile. Protesting the tax structure is one thing; but don’t insult my intelligence by suggesting the problem is that it's all hard and stuff. I personally don’t think saving three seconds on my tax form is worth giving petrochemical giants a huge flat tax break.
As for too many laws? That isn’t simple; it’s simplistic. If you don’t like a law, argue it on its merits. Numbers and/or pages are irrelevant. God help us if somebody’s in a car accident, and their only legal recourse is the Preamble.
Rule #155: Petitioning a grievance
Any activist who can’t honestly articulate their cause deserves to have their petition invalidated. So many times, I’ve come across something like this: “We’re tired of people getting special rights. Is that fair? No it isn’t. Special rights for none! Equal rights for all. We just think people should be allowed to vote on this. Oh, and a black guy supports this.” Wha?
I’m not so concerned for myself as I am for the hippie chick who shrugged and signed because she heard keywords “rights...fair...equal...vote...black” and she was in a hurry. Anyway, you can’t vote on rights...I think? Either this is the most pointless rah-rah cause in the United States or it hides a very sinister effort to deny minorities and gays basic civil rights. Either way, I’m not signing. Thank you.
Rule #156: Shrill, baby, shrill
Every time Sarah Palin speaks, an angel rips off its wings and dives off a cloud.
Palin’s speech at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference was a new, fascinating low in American politics. The notion that Republican politicians incongruously slam government as both incompetent and evil is nothing new; but at least in the past, some measure of articulateness and/or alternative proposals came with it. Palin is all hate, all demagoguery, all red-meat, with no regard for the English language. She is every ignorant e-mail you ever got throughout 2008, living and breathing. It isn’t just that I disagree with her; I’m offended by her presence on the political scene. If she’s running for president, she’s a guaranteed disaster (apparently the SRLC agreed). If she isn’t, then the GOP is clearly keeping her around for the ratings, which is even worse.
“How’s that HOPEY-CHANGEY thing workin’ out for ya?” It seems to be working out well for both of us, thanks, Palin.
I’ll bet that if President Obama spent all of his time quoting Bill Maher’s rants on how Palin sucks, he’d be criticized for being a bitter drama queen who should spend his time in the spotlight coming up with positive, proactive solutions rather than proudly banking his legacy on his opponent’s failure. Exactly.
Rule #157: Feeling no glee
Pop culture has to make something that interests me. Granted, I was born in 1980 and have the precise cultural sensibilities of someone born in 1970; but still, something? Must everything involve some sort of combination of high school, singing, vampires, Jesus and reboot? Rolling Stone hasn’t released a cover without washboard abs or frilly pinkness since Obama took office. It wasn’t always like this, you know!