February 15, 2012 - When you stop and think about it, children and government really do have a lot in common.
Children are completely dependent on their parents for everything in life. Without them, they have nothing – no money, no home, no clothing, no possessions, nothing.
Government is completely dependent on taxpayers for everything it has. Without us, it has no money, no facilities, no vehicles, no land, no fancy offices.
Children have trouble taking 'no' for an answer. When they don't get what they want, they incessantly pester their parents and wear them down until they finally get a 'yes.'
Government most definitely has trouble taking 'no' for an answer. When a millage or bond proposal fails, officials just keep putting it on the ballot until the voters finally give in and cough up more cash. Or they take public funds from elsewhere, call it a "savings," then use the money to get whatever the voters wouldn't give them in the first place.
Children have trouble listening and paying attention. You can tell them the same thing a thousand times and it still doesn't sink in. They only hear what they want to hear.
Government isn't the best listener, either. Officials say they want to hear from the public, but most of the time, what they really mean is they only want to hear words of agreement, support and praise. Criticism, opposing views and questioning are all viewed as "negative," and we can't have that, now can we? We mustn't hurt poor widdle government's feelings.
Children can be bullies who steal lunch money, tease others and pick fights on the playground.
Government bullies folks all the time, but with more finesse and on a much grander scale. It uses things like red tape, citations, endless fees, eminent domain and worst of all, lawyers.
Children love new toys. The minute they see something big, shiny and expensive in the store, on television or at a friend's house, they must have it, too.
Government's no different. The worst thing in the world is when officials visit other communities and come back with a major case of envy, which they pitch to the public as 'new ideas.' They have a pool; we need a pool. They have a community center; we need a community center. They have a pavilion complete with roller rink and frozen yogurt bar; we need one of those, too. Gimme, gimme, gimme!
Children have trouble admitting they're wrong and saying they're sorry except when forced to by authority figures. Children are prone to lie, make excuses or blame others for their mistakes.
Ditto, ditto, ditto for government. The only difference is government should be old enough to know better.
Children require constant supervision. If you don't keep an eye on them, they get into all sorts of trouble.
Government has a variety of baby-sitters ranging from the news media to watchdog citizens. Unfortunately, no matter how much they watch it, government still gets away with murder.
Children believe the world revolves around them.
Government doesn't believe a world exists beyond its walls, its rules and its desires.
Fortunately, children eventually learn from their mistakes, grow up, leave the house – if we're lucky – and become self-sufficient, productive members of society.
Sadly, government is always with us. It's the greedy, self-centered, ill-mannered child who never leaves, never learns and constantly embarrasses us.
Unfortunately, we've all let it grow much too large to put it over our knee and give it a good spanking.
Maybe we can send it to boarding school?
CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.