Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Time To Get Out of the Pumpkin Patch!

In the classic Peanuts cartoon, which all members of Generation X look forward every October, It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown, we see a deluded young Linus, sitting in a pumpkin patch, waiting for the Great Pumpkin to bestow gifts upon him.

The other kids in the neighborhood are not so deluded.  They are all out trick-or-treating (am I the only one who hates the use of  "trick-or-treat" as a verb?). We can assume that just about every house in the neighborhood participates.  The kids are collecting quite a bit of stuff (except for poor Charlie Brown).

Trick-or-treating is a great system.  Everyone in the neighborhood contributes something.  Even people without kids are likely to hand out candy.  Every kid in the neighborhood is then able to partake.  Sure there are some people who may not be able to afford candy for the neighborhood, but their kids are allowed to share the festivities.  Maybe they can afford candy next year.  When their kids grow up they might very well have the money for neighborhood candy.  Sometimes a home might run out, leaving nothing but that rock for Charlie Brown.  Even though Linus is wasting his time in the pumpkin patch, I'm sure Mr. and Mrs. Van Pelt have provided candy for the neighborhood.  After all, Lucy and Rerun are participating.  

I find myself drawing a parallel between Linus and his belief that something bigger and better is coming from the Great Pumpkin to Republicans who believe in trickle-down economics.  We have a system in place that everyone contributes in some way, or will contribute to in the future.  Everyone is entitled to the benefits.  We have a system that pays for roads and emergency services, for schools and aid to those who can't provide for themselves.  They resent that system.  They believe they shouldn't pay into it. As far as they're concerned, Charlie Brown deserves all of those rocks for not being able to properly cut eye holes in his costume.   Rather than understanding a system that benefits society, they believe that as long as those at the top are making money, like the Great Pumpkin flying over the pumpkin patches, they will receive something bigger and better. 

Linus believes that if the pumpkin patch is sincere enough, he will reap those immense benefits.  Isn't that just like the Right?  Just cut taxes more.  Just pray more and prove how Christian you are.  Just elect more Republicans.  Just deregulate more.  As soon as you do that, the wealth will reach us.  No matter how much history has proven this wrong (The Gilded Age and the Great Depression),  no matter how many more jobs are cut and moved overseas, no matter how much the gap between the rich and the poor increases, they still believe that they have something more coming.  They just keep waiting, keep hoping their pumpkin patches are sincere enough, and keep seeing schools and infrastructure crumble while they wait for some big payoff. 

It's time to get out of the pumpkin patch and start enjoying the benefits of trick-or-treating.  Everyone in the neighborhood will benefit - including you!

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