Tuesday, January 17, 2012

My Tax Dollars

So I noticed this status of a FB friend today: "Why are my tax dollars being used to bring back the stupid Sea Shepherd wankers....."

The comments on this thread then spiralled into why tax payer dollars were being spent on having troops in the Ghan when the locals don't want us there. And of course there was the remark about the tax payer dollars that fund methadone programs and other such treatments for addicts. I don't really presume to know the full circumstances of this Sea Shepherd thing, but I cannot help but hope that were I ever in a situation, even one of my own making, that my government and my country wouldn't simply look at me and go "tough shit, you did this to yourself. You're on your own!" most especially if the situation were serious and/or life threatening. 

I agree with our government's stance on ransoms and hostages, because to submit to the demands of terrorists and to pay ransoms leaves us open to all sorts of threats both foreign and domestic. I believe our government, in those circumstances, does everything within its power to secure the safe return of citizens held against their will without endangering national security on a broader scale. 

It often baffles me, though I must admit it rarely surprises me anymore, when people jump onto the 'Bring our boys home' bandwagon over the war in Iraq/Afghanistan. Really, there are a very small few who are privy to all of the facts as to why we are there. I am not one of those few, as are most people who demand we bring our troops home. Should we have gone in? I cannot honestly say because I am not aware of all of the facts and therefore cannot make a truly informed decision. Whether we should have gone in at all or not is largely, in my opinion irrelevant. The real motivations for the war - well some people say it was a response to 9/11, some say its about controlling the oil. I don't really care one way or the other now. Why we are there, why we went in.....those reasons have long ago lost their significance. The fact is, we are there. We have made a commitment to freeing the Afghani people from the oppression of terrorist regimes, from the dictatorship they have for so many years lived under. Is it easy? No. Are there casualties? Regrettably so. Does that mean we should just abandon a people, after having swooped in and upturned everything they have known and lived by for so long? Most certainly not. I do not believe that the local people do not want us there. Certainly there is an element of them that don't. They are called the Taliban. They are the very terror driven dictators we are combatting. They are the oppressors who seek to control a population through fear and intimidation. Of course they do not want us there because we are showing the very people they seek to control that there is another way to live, a way free of everything the Taliban represents, everything they stand for. I believe, and I am sure any soldier you speak to who has had the supreme honor of serving in that environment, that the locals whose lives we are positively changing want us there. They need us there. Whether we should have gone in or not, we are there, we have made a commitment to these people - we must see the job through until it's done. 

As for such uneducated, ill-conceived remarks such as why tax payer dollars go towards Methadone programs and the like. I honestly hope those people who believe this to be an unacceptable allocation of funds never find themselves battling an addiction. Whether its a Methadone program or Alcohols Anonymous, Gamblers Anonymous or some other form of rehabilitation, I truly hope these people are never told: "Sorry, we know you want to quit drinking, we know you need help but we think helping you is a waste of tax payer dollars so you're on your own!"Where do you draw the line? Who decides what is an acceptable program and what is not? Methadone - not acceptable but Lifeline or Kids Help Line is? AA not acceptable but helping people with depression is? Where do you draw the line? Depression - not a serious enough mental health issue but schizophrenia is? Whether its quitting illicit drug addiction or alcohol, or even giving up smoking - do we not, as a society and a community have a responsibility to help those members of that community that need that assistance, if the ability to render it is available? Who am I as an individual to say someone, who needs my help and who I have the ability to help, is not worthy of that time or resources?

Yes there are going to be those people who make you think, "why are we paying for them to come home - they brought their circumstances upon themselves!" but I challenge everyone, when they have that thought, to think of how many other people who did not create their own circumstances that would be denied this very assistance if we were to arbitrarily decide that certain issues were not worthy of government/taxpayer assistance.

The next time you want to call a drug addict a wanker who brought their addiction upon themselves, try thinking about the unborn baby who enters the world addicted to cocaine, or the young child who grows up with alcoholic parents as role models and subsequently develops an unhealthy addiction to alcohol at an early age, or the small child who was unlucky enough to be born in Afghanistan instead of the multicultural, tolerant, democratic society we have in Australia - are they not worthy of our help?

Alright - beat my midnight deadline....just! Sorry was off at the cricket =)

Peace out until tomorrow those of you out in the interwebs who, for whatever reason, have chosen to stop by today and read what it is I have had to say!.

PNut xoxo

1 comment:

  1. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. In the case of merhadone clinics, the preventative policy is to return a certain group to productive, normal lives. This isn't going to work for all participants using the services but for some it might.

    Consider the cost of not providing such services. The cost of methadone maintenance compared to the cost of all those folks fiending for thier next heroin fix. It'd be interesting to see a study on societal costs (crime rates, child abuse, etc) between those on methadone maintenance programs and those without access to or interest in such programs.

    It's hard to say such programs are a waste of taxpayer money without having all the facts. There are many more subtle repercussions than just tax expenditures that should be carefully reviewed before jumping to such conclusions as the FB friend has done.