Big Dreams Little Tent

soapboxpileThe indifference of the public is astounding. Don’t get me wrong, most are quick to jump on the bandwagon for their causes, wanton in offering up their opinions, fast to draw down with their observations. In fact, I have 3,400+ Facebook ‘Friends’ many of whom frequently interact with me when I offer the opportunity to discuss current events, especially politics that is unless I ask for their opinion with the following tag line:

 This is a Question not a debate, it is for something I am writing.  Many people most on the Right (Conservative) but some even on the Left (Liberal) have said they want smaller Government. What exactly does that mean? Don’t give long answers please, specifics what would you eliminate and why. If you want to pass this around to others that would be most appreciated. Again, no debate. If you see an answer you disagree with do not challenge it, it is irrelevant all I am looking for is what are people thinking. Your help is most appreciated.


Perhaps I should have promoted this, even paid. Facebook isn’t what it once was, yet usually at least some of my family will jump in to tell me their ideas. I have family who have distinctly different views from my own; they are usually good for at least a response or two. So, besides learning Facebook isn’t what it once was, what did I learn?

  1. People don’t have ideas they can define easily.
  2. People just want to complain.

I don’t think I was necessarily surprised by this, I was however disappointed. Nearly two years ago I wrote on another site an ode to Progressive Political Thinking, or how I would fix what was broken. It isn’t that I believe my views are perfect or can fix everything, I simply think if we sit down together and talk through the issues we face as a nation we can correct our course. I don’t believe the majority of us are that far apart in our thinking, despite the labels we slap on our lapels or the signs we place in our lawns.

What is it most of us really want? I wonder now, how many of us can really say what it is they believe in without the use of “Buzz”. How many of us can answer simple questions?

  1. What does Smaller Government mean?
  2. What does overturning Roe-v-Wade mean?
  3. What does a Secular Government versus a Christian Nation mean?
  4. What does Debt versus Deficit mean and why are either or both bad?
  5. What are Austerity Measures in terms of the economy?
  6. What is the War on Drugs?
  7. What is the War on Women?
  8. What are Entitlements?
  9. What is Supply Side Economics?
  10. What is Demand Side Economics?
  11. What is the Trickle Down Theory of Economics? Has it worked?
  12. What is the environment and how do we influence it?

I wonder how many in this nation truly understand these questions and their own answers to them. I have many other questions, these are good ones though as these get asked and debated frequently in many of the forums I frequent. The interesting thing is, no matter what side of the political spectrum you might be on most of us start at the same place, with the same desires and same wants.

  1. Freedom and independence.
  2. Leave my children (future generations) with a better world.
  3. More money in my pocket.
  4. Greater opportunity.
  5. Safety of person.

I truly believe if normal everyday people sat down at the table, despite our differences we could sort out the issues and find common ground. I don’t believe most of us are that far apart, sure we might have issues we care deeply about on a personal level, things we feel passionate about; but ask yourself, are those things truly what you and I should be willing to bring the nation to its knees over? I wonder, have we allowed ourselves to be distracted by what isn’t of vital importance to the success of a nation. Have we bet the future of our children on the petty snark rather than demanding the big promises we are capable of and once achieved.

How sad.Kickm


  1. WordsFallFromMyEyes says:

    You are very political Valentine, but so clear and good at it.

    I always appreciate reading you, as you do open me to the world.

    Just for the record, I think smaller government means under 5 foot five, but without ‘Small Man’s Syndrome’.

  2. ***I truly believe if normal everyday people sat down at the table, despite our differences we could sort out the issues and find common ground***

    this, my dear, is the reason WOMEN should rule the world!! Xxxx

    • Isn’t that the truth. Do you wonder sometimes, if we ran the world would we change so dramatically we would become great big power hungry azzhats? I wonder, then I think “No, with few exceptions it simply isn’t in our nature.”

      Bring it on.

  3. That is nice that on your Facebook, you stimulate political discussions. A lot of Facebookers tend to just post random happenings in their own lives or pictures of themselves. For this reason, I’m not in Gacebook as often as the majority of the population.

  4. Government should be run like a business, fat trimmed and belts tightened. Too many tax dollars are wasted. Too many members for a piece of the pie the little man is paying for. That wouldn’t be a bad start.

  5. To my mind, folks don’t ask those questions, they just come up with answers. It is the whole “cut entitlements but keep your hands off my Medicare” mentality.

    Folks don’t know what government — large or small — does. Everyone is all for cutting regulations, but they don’t know what that means. I know, that was partly your point.

    Civics needs to be taught — not just once, but constantly throughout school. It should be mandator. People need to grow up knowing enough about government to ask the right questions and to be able to come up with thoughtful answers.

    • Essential and basic Civics. What a concept.

      This is such a lost subject. Children in Texas must learn State History. Want to know something funny? It will make you weep. The history they are being taught is a great gaping damned lie, repeated by their teachers who know it is a lie, repeated by every level of government official who also know it is a lie.

      Civics, what a concept. We have members of the first Congressional Congress being blacked out, their names being wiped out because they were not Christians. Yes, welcome to the great state of Texas.

      We, the people are willfully stupid. Not just ignorant but willfully stupid.

      I am not just sad, I am pissed off.

      • And the Texas school books determine those of the rest of the country.

        God help us!

      • Wow. That’s exactly what they did in Soviet Union to textbooks. (of course, not to the members of US Continental Congress, but to purged founders of Soviet Union). And then Obama is the Communist one…

  6. I like a logical mind. More people should make our politicians clarify their objectives before we vote them in. And then watch them afterward to see they do what we wanted them to do when we voted them in. People get the leadership they deserve when they are not on guard.

    • I could not agree more with your last statement Ian. We have no business complaining about the state of our nation, we put the leadership in the positions they are in.

  7. For me, smaller government is not legislating everything (Do we really need to regulate the optimal number of mosquitoes per acre?) and foregoing duplicity in the name of state’s rights (Murder is murder no matter where you commit it.). Stick to personal safety assurances and industrial regulation which fosters economic equity.

    Smaller gov’t means efficiency. Employ the least number of ppl for the least amount of time to do any job. As with private sector, they fail deadlines, standards and/or budget; they are replaced.

    I could go question by question, but these are my biggest. Fewer laws does not mean more lawlessness, it means more freedom.

    Can we do a question at a time for the series?

    • The question at a time for a series was the idea. Ask the question in Facebook to capture what people thought. Then discuss what people were really thinking versus the results we were getting. Now, I am going to have to approach it differently.

      I agree with you smaller gov’t means efficiency, I think someone in the answer group said the same thing.

      • The habit of bludgeoning the other side with their inconsistencies and foibles is far more standard fare than owning what we really want. The system is set up as adversarial. It is not about proving one’s own case, but about undermining the case of the other more than they undermine yours. I advocate scrapping most all of it on the basis weigh its efficacy and necessity. The regulating of alleged common sense is inane.

        I do propose one legislation, however. Make attorneys an endangered species by strengthening the requirements for bringing cases. Fewer frivolous judiciary reviews would mean less idiotic laws. (Think the regulation of “Contents may be hot.”)

  8. I realise you speak about USA – but this post applies (most of it) to my country, Singapore. Under the facade of squeaky clean and efficient govt – we are in a rot.

    • Yet Eric, even with the rot you continue to have good healthcare, good schools and low crime. Your infrastructure continues to operate.

      I know there is bad in any system. We can always improve.

  9. A lot of these question imply only subjective answers and at the same time require rather elaborate responses. You’d be better off posing them on WordPress, maybe even as a series of guest posts.

    • The idea though was to try to find out how people answered, what they thought or if they really could answer. The starting question, “What does Smaller Government mean to you?” was the test.

      The idea of a series of guest posts isn’t a bad one. I will have to consider that one. What I really wanted to get below, was ideology. Can people respond without sound bites?

      • In a short Facebook comment, I don’t think it’s possible to avoid sound bites. I probably wouldn’t have been able to respond to any of the questions with just a sentence or two.

        • A couple years back I ran questions like this all the time on Facebook and got great responses, great answers. Loved the forum. Is it Facebook that has changed? Or is it people?

  10. Gray Dawster says:

    I think the questions and answers idea is much better otherwise one can be swamped by all the ridiculous bickering, which gets everyone absolutely nowhere… A great posting Val and do have a very nice start to your week 🙂 🙂 xxx

    • I love the idea of simple questions and answers. It seems if we could just get people to truly think, truly question even their own premise perhaps we could begin to move forward.

  11. Or simply said, “Do we want to BE RIGHT, or GET IT RIGHT?”

    I would opt for the latter.

  12. OneHotMess says:

    Oh, Val…I have a lot to say on all of these issues, but we’d need a phone. Perhaps that is why I do not debate politics online. Too much gets lost in the translation, but like you, I suspect most of us have more common hope and goals than not. Facebook is not the place to find that out, for the good, or the bad. Snark reigns! 😉

    • The funny thing is, I was hoping to turn it into a series. First, what does small or smaller government mean.

      Then asking just one question at a time. I use to be able to do this, yes on Facebook. It was a great source for this type of information. It was a great source for a broad swath of feedback. In the last 5 years, things have just gotten different. I am sad.

      • Great post. Important questions presented in a wonderfully sensible manner. I think the divide in the past five years is frightening . . . and sad. I do wonder what this nation will become if we don’t give up that awful word “compromise”–everyone loses something–and get to the word we need, “consensus”–through civil debate we find that ground where we all get to where we want to be. Like you, excepting a few wing nuts–and that’s both wings–I don’t think we are that far apart.

        • Actually I think both are important. Our leaders must learn to compromise from where they are today. We, that is the people of this nation must value consensus.

          You are correct, we have wingnuts everywhere, they are the snark that keeps us going it seems.

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