The Good Life: An Ordinary American Is Not Really Free
President Trump is again claiming that his administration’s policies are benefiting “ordinary Americans.”
I know only one “ordinary American:” Me.
If it is good for me, it is good for America. If not, no.
That is my policy. I am sticking to it.
President Trump’s policies have ended or rolled back federal “Big Brother” regulations that have hamstrung businesses for decades. That is good — for business.
But I am not a business. I am me, even though my grammar checker insists that I should write, “I am I.”
President Trump’s policies have not yet helped me in ways that matter.
I still have to use awkward, complicated and ineffective “Big Brother” gasoline can spouts to fill our mowers (unless I illegally modified those spouts, something that law-abiding me would never do).
Those same riding mowers cannot continue to cut when I put them into reverse gear (unless I illegally modified the blade cutoff mechanism, which law-abiding me would never do).
Not since the federal breakup of Ma Bell more than a quarter-century ago has our government protected us against monopolies. We are at the mercy of behemoths: Goldman Sachs, Monsanto/Bayer, Anheuser Bush/InBev, Sirius XM/Pandora satellite radio, etc.
Heck, I cannot even withdraw more than $10,000 in cash from my bank account without my bank notifying the Internal Revenue Service, the FBI and, for all I know, the Ethiopian Embassy that I am rolling in dough.
Never mind that if I seriously attempted to withdraw $10,000 from my checking account, I would either be laughed out of the bank or arrested for having bounced a check via a shortfall of many thousands of dollars.
It’s the principle that counts, not the principal that is in the bank in dollars.
But wait. There is more. Check out freedomworks.org. That site tells me that:
¯ It is illegal for me to package “Turkey Ham” and sell it as “Ham Turkey.”
¯ It is a federal crime to wash a fish at a faucet if the faucet has not been formally labeled as a fish-washing faucet.
¯ It is a crime to harass a golfer who is taking swings within national parks in Washington, D.C. Hmm. Is the White House lawn a national park? Does someone yell, “Hey, Cheeseburger Butt!” if President Trump, en route to the Rose Garden, mimics a backswing?
¯ It is a federal crime to be drunk while you skydive. I was not drunk when I skydived twice. I was indeed drunk when I stupidly agreed to skydive, back in the late 1960s when skydivers used World War II era parachutes with one panel cut out, ostensibly to give directional control but actually only to enhance my screams of primal fear as I discovered that I am deathly afraid of heights.
The existence of those federal crimes offends me, almost as much as I am offended by the realization that the mowers that I thought I bought and own are in reality only “rented.” The feds control what I can and cannot do with them. So much for, “I own them.”
We have just commemorated Memorial Day, a solemn tribute to men and women whose military service entailed the loss of their lives in order to protect our right to be free.
In a month and a day, we will commemorate Independence Day, which commemorates our right to be independent of tyrannical kingly dictates from across the pond.
But what about in our own pond?
The federal government has much — too much — to say about everything from how we can/cannot be born (See “abortion”) to how we can/cannot die (See “euthanasia”).
I am grateful that I was born, although I have no desire to literally repeat the procedure. It is enough that I have been “born again” in the theological sense.
I have no pressing urge to die via euthanasia or suicide. But as I cross the mid-70s age divide, I have become in favor of having those options available to me, even if I never decide to use either of them.
But the federal government says no, or imposes so many regulations that I cannot freely make major decisions about my life, e.g., having my mower’s blade continue to cut grass while the mower is in reverse gear, even if I am extremely attentive and I have surveyed the area to ensure that no injury-susceptible children are present within a half-mile radius.
President Trump can brag about “Making America Great Again.” Perhaps he is doing that for some Americans, especially those holding stock in near-monopolistic corporate behemoths.
But I am no freer now than I was in January of 2017 when President Trump and the current Congress took office.
Are you? If so, I congratulate you.
Now, please excuse me. My mower needs gasoline. Without my undivided attention to that task, the gas containers’ emissions “safety” devices ensure enough gas splashing to make self-cremation a distinct possibility.
Denny Bonavita is a former editor at newspapers in DuBois and Warren. He lives near Brookville. Email: email@example.com.