You ever have one of those boyfriends or girlfriends with control issues? You know the type — they’d decide where you were going out to dinner or what movie you were going to see or whose friends you’d be visiting this weekend or when it was time to have serious discussions and when it wasn’t.
Maybe it was kind of endearing at first (you called it “assertive” or “confident;” maybe you melted a bit inside when they said “don’t you worry your little head about this, sweetie; I’ll get the check”). But ultimately this person annoyed the shit out of you because their attitude betrayed an egotistical sense of superiority that degraded and disrespected you.
Politicians all seem to be cut from this cloth. It’s a prerequisite for wanting to seek office. They all want the opportunity to spend your money for you and make your decisions for you and decide on the limits of your behavior because they’re smarter than you, better than you, and are confident that they know what they’re doing.
They’re all assholes, in short.
And while you could spend the rest of the night in that singles bar picking nits about which asshole is the least objectionable one, you’re still better off yet choosing another bar where you can hang out with people who think of you as an peer and an equal.
I really wish the liberals in the U.S. would leave the electoral meat market behind. Pinning your hopes on getting a Democrat or a Green into office is a guaranteed loser. (And don’t get me started about the Republicans who still believe that their party believes in “smaller government.”)
A lot of time when I talk to people about their government I feel like I’m talking to someone in an abusive relationship. “Yes, the government steals my money and lies to me and threatens to throw me in jail and it’s always going off on these destructive binges, but there’s an election coming up and I think maybe it’ll change this time for real and I don’t want to just give up on it after putting in all this time and emotional investment.”
Grow up! No, the government isn’t going to change — not in any meaningful way — so stop investing yourself in it. Stop leaning on it and counting on it and looking up at it hopefully as if it were your friend. As much as you can get away with, divest yourself from it. Do things for yourself that it offers to do for you, hide your money from it when it comes home drunk from adventures overseas, start seeing other forms of social organization.
There’s not much we as individuals can do about dumping the rule of politicians. But we can do what we can, and that is to say “no” to government whenever we’re asked, to resist it in whatever ways we feel are appropriate, and to replace it with our own positive efforts where we can.