Let me finish tonight with the topic the President raised today: this question of what we expect of government, what we want it to do. He quoted Abraham Lincoln on the rule that government should do for the people only what we cannot do for ourselves.
We can say we want to live like cowboys. You know the line; keep government out of our business and out of our bedrooms. Live and let live and don’t bother me with all the government stuff, all those taxes.
But look at the job we’ve given government to do: we’ve got the largest military in the world. When the French and the British decide to bomb Khaddafy, they tell us to send in the missiles. We’re Officer Krupke on the corner. We’re the 911 everybody calls - And it’s a free call. We are the world’s military solution and that costs money. You talk about stopping it and somebody yells “you don’t love America.” We’ve all heard it.
And yet people expect us to have lower taxes than countries that don’t even think about having armies like we do. Think Germany. Think Japan. Do you see them out there fighting the world’s wars? Those countries have “had it” with wars - and I, for one, am glad they are.
But count the places we’re fighting in now: Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan - because that’s where we’re sending drones in to kill terrorists - and last, but not least, Libya.
Then there are other things. We believe that once you hit 65 you get your medical bills paid by the government. All of them.
You can be a Republican, a Democrat. You can be a big government socialist or you can be the farthest-out libertarian since Ayn Rand and you still get your medical bills paid by the government - and thanks to George W - your medicine, too.
Yet we live, and talk, as if we’re all cowboys out on the prairie, living in a line shack - not needing nothin’ from nobody. People talk about the government as the enemy - like they’re making moonshine and the “revenuers” are comin’.
The fact is, the government is comin’ all the time - to fight the wars people seem to want fought, pay the medical bills of people 65 years old and up, and all the rest.
We expect the federal government to fix the sea walls when there’s a flood - we expect them there whenever someone declares an “emergency.” We expect government to keep us safe when we get in an airplane or open a can of tuna fish.
And yet we talk and think like cowboys who don’t need it.