Ronald Reagan famously said that government is not the solution to our problems, but government IS the problem. Many who consider him a saint have made that quote scripture and devoted themselves to the cause of electing politicians who claim to be devoted to smaller government. My state is run by those very politicians, and the United States House of Representatives and Senate both are controlled by those claiming that doctrine.
The trouble is every nonpartisan study shows that government actually grows faster when they are in charge than when the so called “tax and spend” politicians are in charge. The difference is that the part of the government they grow is generally the military. At the moment, the United States military is larger than the next 15-17 countries combined, depending on how you measure it. What doesn’t grow, of course, is spending on education and infrastructure and health and welfare.
Now, you may agree that we need a stronger military, or you may think we should spend more money on education, but that really is not my point. What I am getting at is simply this: Americans are altogether too enamored of clichés. An entire generation bought Reagan’s and then elected politicians who claimed to agree with him. They, however, did absolutely NOTHING to reduce the size of government. In fact, they grew the military, proving that Reagan was wrong. Defense, like roads, education, Social Security, Medicare for the elderly and response to natural disasters and health epidemics are all things we need an effective government to address for the common good.
Making the government the enemy has not served us well, and no one bothered to ask why these candidates have devoted their lives and spent millions of dollars to become politicians if government is the problem. The VALUES that guide those we elect are the problem, or, perhaps, it is the values of the people doing the voting.
Government is neither good nor bad; it simply is a reflection of the corrupt people who manipulate us into electing them. Perhaps it is the corrupt values we hold that let us be manipulated so easily because we believe only what we want to believe and see only what we want to see. The Bible says the truth will set us free, but anyone who tries that will never get elected, even as a pastor.
Rev. Michael Piazza