Monday, February 4, 2008
Promises, Promises! The Election Comes to New Mexico
The candidates are coming and going.
Well, actually only two have been here--and their spouses and spokespeople.
Although New Mexico holds it the state-run primary in June, when our little voice is quite meaningless, the Democrats are having a party-run presidential nominating caucus tomorrow.
So we have had just a little bit of very last-minute politicking going on here, just to remind us that we are really and truly a bona fide state in the United States, something that the rest of the country tends to forget during the quiet times of the election cycle.
And we have been getting the e-mails and the phone calls, too.
Billary has many gifts to give us: gun control, border reform, universal health care, pre-kindergarten, foreign policy rearrangements, tax the rich and give to the poor.
Obama has made the same promises, differing only in the particulars. But he is young and hopeful and not as shrill.
Which led to a discussion in our house about gifts and strings attached.
My mother always used to say that when you accept a gift, you also accept the strings attached to it. Nothing is free, she'd say, except what you earn with your own two hands.
Quaint. And damn straight.
Most politician's promises become 'as cold as a witch's tit in a brass bra' on the day after the election.
But those they keep can end up costing us a fair amount.
Most of what we are being promised is not theirs to give in the first place.
For those of us voting on Tsunami Tuesday, it behooves us to remember that what they are promising is not a gift to us at all. It is something that they will buy with our money.
And it behooves us to remember that the federal government is flat broke. Actually, it is more than flat broke--it is in the red. So if we buy these things, either our taxes will go up or the value of our currency will go down. If we tax the rich, then they will make fewer investments and fewer charitable contributions, so our economy will suffer, as will the general wealth of our local communities.
Our vocabulary word for the day is:
"There ain't no such thing as a free lunch."
That vocabulary word has led to lessons in economics, the rights of man, and the duplicity of politicians.
We've learned a few colorful phrases, too.
It's all part of the process.