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Politically Incorrect

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Please, don't vote

In just a few short weeks, a handful of voters will decide the fate of the nation. I say “handful” because voter turnout in non-presidential elections is notoriously low. And I say “fate of the nation” because it sounds pretty darn impressive, though what will really be determined is the fate of The River Journal.

You don’t see how national elections can have anything to do with our little newspaper here in the Clark Fork River Valley? Tsk tsk. Y’all haven’t been doing your homework on this election.

Right now, today, Republicans hold the executive branch and a majority presence in the House. They are a single vote away from control of the Senate. But that could change overnight, or at least, over election day. 34 seats in the Senate are being voted on in this election – and 36 states will elect their governors. Several races are considered crucial, including some of those right here at home.

Now, before anyone runs out and tries to upset the applecart, stop and think for a minute about what this country’s managed to accomplish in the last few years.

Although personal bankruptcies are up, we passed a bankruptcy bill to stop that from happening anymore. That’s one problem solved.

In order to avoid, at the corporate level, the same types of situations that lead to those personal bankruptcies (more bills than money), we’ve given $7 billion to IBM, GM and Enron, along with 13 other corporate giants, in the House Stimulus Bill.

The relaxation of pollution standards at the EPA, including the decision to reverse a 25-year policy and allow the dumping of mining and industrial solid wastes into our rivers and streams was brilliant, and will undoubtedly lead to more corporate profits, which we all know leads to a better standard of living for all of us.

The testing mandate in the “No Child Left Behind” act, with a price tag of $2.7 to $7 billion, will stimulate the economies of Texas and California (major producers of testing materials and the textbooks they’re tied to) which, again, leads to a better standard of living for all of us.

Our President took the “Don’t Mess with Texas” tagline to new, national levels with a plan to increase our military budget to $397 billion. That’s more than the combined military spending of the entire rest of the world, and leads me to suggest a national motto of “Don’t **** with U.S.”

Making taxpayers cover the costs of clean-up at Superfund sites was a much better economic decision than having those silly, polluting corporations pay for it themselves and once more leads to greater corporate profits and the related increase in our personal standards of living.

We passed the largest tax cut for the wealthy in American history, with 35% of the cut going to the wealthiest 1% of the population. As the American dream involves being counted in that 1%, this is obviously a move that will benefit each of us, either now or at that point in the future when we make it into that tax bracket.

We reversed the Clinton policy of not doing government business with corporations that repeatedly violate federal law. This benefits all of us by... well, I have to admit, I can’t think of a reason why we did this but I’m sure there was a good one.

Those nagging little problems with the stock market, which turned so many folks’ 401ks into 201ks, are actually beneficial as they’ve now given millions of Americans the incentive to never retire and, instead, work forever, increasing our GNP while continuing payments into a troubled Social Security system. And by proposing to invest our Social Security money in that same stock market, we create a never-ending loop that’s sure to lead to increased prosperity for all.

And look, now we get to go to war against Saddam Hussein, and maybe folks will finally forget all about those silly comments that we’re gonna get Osama bin Laden "dead or alive." We didn’t, of course, and though the CIA believes Osama is more of an immediate threat than Hussein, it’s election season and Osama can’t be found, while Hussein is sitting right there in Baghdad. And this is America, after all. Hussein, bin Laden... they’re all A-Rabs, right? And we always get our man... or at least, some man, whether it's the right one or not.

So how does this all come down to saving The River Journal? Simple. The precedents set by our current way of doing business (by both Democrats and Republicans) give me nothing but hope for my own future. When I think about it, in fact, I start singing that song about “my future’s so bright, I gotta wear shades.”

Think airlines were hit hard by Sept. 11 and our double-dip recession? Try being in the publishing business. Sure is hard to sell advertising when businesses are failing and consumer spending is down. With a situation like that, publishers are bound to be next in line for a bailout. A billion or so ought to do it.

Conversely, the government could federalize the media industry. How the heck are we supposed to do a good job when we don’t work for the government? And just between you and me, I’m mighty darn tired of working holidays, weekends and evenings without a shift differential. I wouldn't mind giving 'guvmint work' a try.

And if neither of those things happens, I still stand a good chance for a subsidy. That might actually be the best solution. Every now and then we throw around the possibility of printing this newspaper every week, but that would be an awful lot of work. Lucky for us, our government has a system where we can get paid NOT to work – they can subsidize those two issues a month we don’t print anyway.

So pay attention to what you’re doing at the polls, folks, or, better yet, just don’t go and vote. That’s the system that’s gotten us where we are today and I say, why mess with success?

 

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Landon Otis

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Politics, voting

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