Monday, August 05, 2013

Oh, How I Wish To Live In That Conservative Shangri-La

I've often joked that I really want to live in the world conservatives think we live in now -- a socialist utopia with free healthcare and abortions on demand, where crossing the border is as easy as ordering lunch, and where women and people of color have long ago achieved equality and there are no pressing social problems of any kind. It really does sound like a great place to be.

I was reminded of that when I saw this graffiti scrawled near a handicapped parking space in the lot outside of my building. Although it's obviously only the grammatically incorrect, misspelled rant of one person, it very much encapsulates so much of the conservative world view. If you can't tell from the picture, this person believes that those using the handicapped spot are not only not suffering from a physical handicap that necessitates a special parking space, but are in fact overweight and driving an SUV paid for by the presumably honest, hard-working graffiti-er's taxes.

This kind of worldview makes me feel something between knee-slapping laughter and infuriating rage. Although it's insane, it seems to be one of the cornerstones of contemporary American conservatives -- that somehow, there's an army of lazy people who have figured out that instead of working, they can get large checks from the federal government by faking some sort of malady, thus allowing them to live in luxury by doing nothing but collecting the tax revenues of their hard-working countrymen.

Of course this is laughable. Anyone who knows even the basics of government programs knows that any benefits you may receive are going to be so small as to barely allow you to have the necessities of life. Literally no single private individual is driving an SUV paid for by someone else's tax money. It simply has never happened and will never happen at any point in the future. Making it even more emblematic of how absurdly fantastical the conservative worldview is would be the fact that simply having a handicapped parking permit in no way even implies that person is getting any sort of government benefit. And again, even if they are getting some sort of disability benefit, they would have to save every single cent of it for years on end to have enough to buy even a moderately-priced vehicle.

But I think what makes this the most infuriating is that there are entities out there receiving absurd amounts of federal tax dollars they neither need nor deserve. They're multi-billion dollar multinational corporations, usually defense and energy companies. And yet, I've yet to see any conservatives getting upset about those government handouts, despite the fact that they dwarf payments to the indigent by several orders of magnitude.

Or maybe I'm simply wrong, and am too much of a sheeple to realize there are secret government programs designed to hand out millions to handicapped people for the purpose of...well, ok, I can't even imagine where the argument goes from there, but I'm sure it's damn entertaining/horribly offensive.

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