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We Need to Stop Treating the U.S. Government Like a Furnace

Facebook meme regarding U.S. politics in the time of Trump, 2017.
Facebook meme regarding U.S. politics in the time of Trump, 2017.

This meme greeted me on Facebook one day and it irked me, as often these Facebook memes do. Usually, it’s because they strip complicated issues down and leave important parts out, serving as sound bites that rarely get analyzed. I can’t not analyze them and argue back. This one is so irksome to me that it’s generating at least 2 blog posts. Here’s the first.

Until the most recent election cycle and the takeover of America by the Trump administration and his minions, U.S. citizens have been treating their government like a furnace. When it comes to furnaces, we are happy to let them run in the background, not paying any attention to them, expecting they will keep us warm and cozy when needed, most times not even bothering with the minimum maintenance of changing the filter a few times a year. The only time we notice the furnace is when it fails. Typically, this occurs when it’s ten degrees below zero and the temp is dropping fast inside the house.

My dad worked at a plumbing and heating business. Guess when they were busiest with broken furnace calls? When it was ten-below and everyone’s furnaces had gone out because we all behave the same way about furnaces. Well, all of us who haven’t had the furnace go out when it’s super cold. After living through an emergency furnace situation, we vow to do better in the future and maintain our furnaces.

Tell me that isn’t exactly how most American citizens behave toward our government.

Because we have no idea about the basic process for maintaining our furnaces or our government, when either one goes into crisis mode, we’re scrambling.

It’s precisely because we haven’t been paying enough attention to government that we’ve gotten ourselves into this situation. The GOP stepped into the void of citizen inaction and has been systematically making strides to gerrymander districts to benefit its candidates, pass voter ID laws to keep progressives away from the polls, take over the airwaves (small radio stations) to exhort us with moral values that work against freedom, and allow businesses primacy in our government. (Citizens United was the pinnacle maneuver in giving corporations the same rights as individual citizens.) They’ve been doing this for decades, while we have slept soundly in the belief that the Constitution will protect us.

Now that the no-rules Trump administration has taken the reins of government , it is systematically working to dismantle our constitutional rights. What’s the Constitution but a piece of paper, right?

Trump is the HVAC technician from hell. He’s gonna overcharge us for his service and we’ll still have a broken furnace at the end of the deal. Plus, some of us may suffer from carbon monoxide poisoning.

And this is why the Facebook meme above bugs me. We are in a major political crisis in the United States because we don’t talk enough about politics. Now that we are in the thick of the shit storm, we are in dire need of more political discussion, not less.


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