Thursday, November 6, 2008

Gimme, gimme; Share, share

Had a discussion with a Republican the other day, a very good friend whose intelligence and thoughtfulness I hold in very high regard. We talked about the election in rational, respectful terms that only endeared her more to me. Through the course of the conversation, we talked about how we'd both been hit hard by the house market, and how we wouldn't likely get anything from the current bailout since we'd been smart enough to not default on our loans or rack up exorbitant credit card debt, and how (somewhat) unfair it seemed that we wouldn't get anything for being responsible, while other people who hadn't been so responsible will likely get a bail-out.

I made the suggestion, in the course of the conversation, that our future president (YEAH!) is practically a Socialist. This made her blanch, of course, as it makes most people, but I give an inner whoop.

See, if I had to commit to a party, it'd be Socialist. I don't commit, mostly because I decide each issue on its merits and don't want to ever be tied to a party line. But I also don't commit because of the negative stigma associated with Socialism. Which, to be clear, is not Communism. But just the same, I'm feeling that my blog is now being pinpointed by government search engines. Hope they can also appreciate my grumbling re: Daylight Losing Time and cute anecdotes about the boy and girl.

I'm not sure what we all have against Socialism. Why shouldn't we share what we have? Isn't that how we teach our children: don't take things from other people, always bring enough for everyone, if you have two things and your friend has none then you should give one thing to them, etc. But at some point, it seems to shift: maximize your earning potential, be the top of the class, make lots of money and buy yourself what you deserve.

Had another conversation with same friend today. We were discussing cars with another friend. I mentioned that one of the reasons why we chose our car was because it was less expensive than an SUV (yeah, as if it wasn't already obvious that I'd be one of those moms with a mini-van). We compared our recent car purchases; her SUV came in $12,000 more than my car. She pointed out that I didn't get the high-end accessories and gadgets that she did. I pointed out that it was just a car. Yes, she said, but I intend to keep mine for a long time, so I got the top of the line.

And this seemed so indicative of me of the distaste for Socialism. Because the truth still stands: the car runs the same, leather interior or back-up camera or not. But most Americans don't see it. They see that they deserve these things, that they've earned these things, that they want these things, and that, if they can access the money or credit for them, they should have them. Because they can. Because other people cannot. It's part of what we use to define ourselves against other people.

It's not that I don't have nice things, or desire nice things. But at the end of the day, when I see an adult value that clashes with the way I'd raise a child, I feel compelled to question it. If we value it in our children, if we strive for it in the future generation, isn't it just as important for us now? And wouldn't it be so much easier, instead of trying to change the future through children that we ultimately cannot control, for us to change ourselves in the present?

Oh, right. But the things are all so bright and shiny and lovely. Maybe we're more children at heart than we realize.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

a truly beautiful assessment of our society.
You know who I am