"Secular" Thursday: Patriotism & Taxes

We're going to rename Secular Thursday for today, to Patriotic Thursday. Okay, I am renaming it, anyway. I wrote this as a refutation of the idea that the only patriots are conservative or libertarian. I wrote this as a refutation of the idea that only certain types of people read and love the Constitution, or love this country. I've always been a big old bleeding heart liberal, but I've also always been a flag-waving, country-loving patriot. They aren't mutually exclusive.

This is also based on emotion, not debating specific facts. This is my perspective, MY gut reaction, just as your gut reaction may be against taxes, or against new legislation. I'm not out to say that you are wrong and I am right, and I'm not particularly interested in a debate. Just putting that out there - if you leave a contentious comment, I likely will not respond.

I'm a strange soul.

I get a patriotic thrill when I pay my taxes.

My life is full of points where a stranger took a chance on me. At five years old, at eleven, at nineteen - my story could be so different than what it is today. I can't be that stranger for every five, eleven, nineteen, or twenty-nine year old, but I can pay my taxes.

I can make sure that I pay for the roads on which I drive, and a million other services of which I and my family partake without even noticing. Yes, I happily pay for public education, too. It is of no benefit to my family for public education to decline. I don't believe that public education is a bad thing. Do I think that in many areas it is badly broken? Yes. Do I think it has no value? No.

I can make sure that I pay a equitable tax on my vehicles, my property, my income. Notice I didn't say on the things I buy; I'm one of those strange individuals who opposes most sales taxes out of principle. Our state has eliminated sales tax on groceries, and I think this is an excellent thing.

"Give me your tired, your poor,
your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore."

We'll give them (and, yes, I'd definitely prefer legal immigration!) a chance, an education, health care. We'll do what was done for our ancestors, and then make it bigger and better. That's what this country has long been about. To paraphrase Queen, bad mistakes? We've made a few - but we've come through.

We're meant to be a city on a hill, some say. An example to the world. For too long of late, we've not been the best example that we might otherwise be. We took another step towards bigger and better. This week, I paid my income taxes, and yes, I did it with a light heart. I want to keep America's lamp burning bright.

"Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door."


Anonymous said...

Very nice!

Melanie said...

Thanks for sharing that. I'd happily pay my taxes, too, but it's easy for me to say that - we've never earned enough money to pay income tax. LOL

Smrt Mama said...

I am proud to have my taxes contribute to the general welfare. I don't resent them one bit.

Daisy said...

I agree so much of what you wrote. I pay my fair share of taxes without resenting them & I don't measure a person's patriotism based on their political ideology. I definitely think illegal immigration would be solved if we'd just make it easier to legally immigrate.

That said, I'm pretty frustrated with CA's huge tax burden. We rank 9th in the country & it is only getting worse. I never pay less than $3 a gallon for gas. I pay $600 a year for the privilege of renewing my car tabs (not insurance). I pay surcharge taxes on everything from mechanic to veterinary services. The fact is the rich people in CA are leaving as fast as they can, leaving the middle class holding the bill for the millions upon millions of Californians in need of assistance.

Without joining the other folks in the bread line, I simply do not know how our family can continue to give more and more of our income to the state & the federal gov't. It is really stressful.

I think there are patriotic people (liberal & conservative) who are just frustrated with pay cuts, lost jobs, & higher taxes so their natural inclination is just to throw up their hands and yell, "No" at everything, even something that MIGHT in the long run turn out to be helpful, kwim?

Anonymous said...

Wow, I guess that means I should have labeled my post for secular Thursday, too.

And I do know what you mean about being a liberal homeschooler. It seems like we're the rarest of the rare breeds. Sigh.

That said, I agree. I don't mind paying taxes because I know that the taxes are going toward helping everyone. I don't understand how others can't see that providing a hand up and out is better than the alternative.

Kash said...

@Daisy - Wow. That is N-U-T-S. I admit, I don't know the ins and outs of any state except my own & Tennessee (TN because my mom used to work/still consults for the UT campus in Chattanooga). I pay Georgia about half of what I pay the federal government, in terms of income tax. Ad valorem taxes are decent, especially compared to what you pay! The surcharge thing sounds nuts. Our tax burden isn't especially high, on a state level.

I guess I am just frustrated and sad that the same people around me locally decrying all taxes are also complaining about the shortfall for the county schools next year (projected at $100 million). They seem to think a property tax is a huge affront against their sensibilities. (And here's my libertarian-ish leaning - I think we should pay ad valorem but NOT a generic registration fee. I resent the registering of my car more than the tax.)

Daisy said...

Yeah, the extremists are always the loudest on both sides of the debate.

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