What’s Wrong With Wanting Stuff?

David Brooks

One week ago today, Republicans awoke to a nasty post-election hangover. Conservative pundits chewed fistfuls of aspirin, combed their matted hair, turned to the cameras with weary smiles, and made excuses for the staggering defeat that caught them completely off-guard but which math enthusiasts saw coming from miles away.

David Brooks — who is articulate, but never as smart as I’d like him to be — bemoaned the fact that America had lost its Protestant groove (i.e. work ethic). Bill O’Reilly — who is neither as articulate or as smart as anyone would like him to be — went further, grumbling that today’s voters “want stuff“.

To which I say, NO SHIT, DUMBASS. Hell yes, we want stuff:

  • We want a healthcare system that allows us to keep arms and legs, not pay them.
  • We want public schools that train leaders and innovators, not standardized test-takers.
  • We want federally funded programs in the arts and humanities, which aren’t “niceties”, but are key to our quality of life.
  • We want to see Americans treated equally, regardless of their sexual orientation.

We want all that. And we will be happy to pay for it.

Mr. Brooks, Mr. O’Reilly, please take a moment to consider the world’s great civilizations: ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome. The Mayans and Aztecs. Italy during the Renaissance, France during the Enlightenment.

The rulers of those empires didn’t achieve greatness by letting citizens run around hoarding their money under primitive mattresses. They took that money. They taxed the public and, for the most part, invested it in infrastructure: roadways, coliseums, ports, libraries. Much of that infrastructure still stands as a testament to their grand achievements.

We want the same. We want more grand achievements. And we want to pay for it.

We also want politicians who’ll work together to make that happen. Elected officials, please put your hubris aside. Behave like other working Americans and learn to compromise. Otherwise, you’ll earn the fate of half-witted ideologues like Allen West and be shown the door.

And those of you who’ve begun praying for last week’s election results to be magically overturned, please remember how well that strategy worked the first time around.

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