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Many on the Republican side are propagating the lie that government is the enemy. If so, we are on a path of self destruction because the government is us.

Ask the good citizens of devastated Joplin or flooded northwestern Missouri: Do they want the federal government to be inconsequential in rebuilding their lives? Or do they want any relief money they receive be off set by cutting needed aid to others, as Republican Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA) cruelly wants to do?

Ask the over 10,000 construction workers hired in Missouri, as a result of the $500 million of Obama stimulus money: Are they against big government doing big things?

Stimulus funds paid for construction

Stimulus funds paid for construction on Hwy, 364 in St. Charles

Ask the 600 thousand senior citizens of Missouri: Do they believe Congressman Todd Akin is right that Medicare is unconstitutional or agree with Texas Governor Rick Perry that Social Security is a ‘Ponzi scheme’?

Thirty years ago, Ronald Reagan famously said, “Government is not the solution to the problem. Government is the problem.”

Hypocritical words from a man who grew up in rural Illinois, where most of the farm community around him operated on government rural electrification programs. In addition, in Reagan’s youth, many of the nearby farmers lost their land to the cruel fluctuation of the commodities market. Today, small farmers are kept alive during hard times by the market calming effects of agricultural price supports put in place by the same government Reagan and Republicans rail against.

Even though Texas has over 3,200 miles of federally funded interstate highways, 16 major military bases, the Houston Manned Space Center, a 1000 mile border and coast line manned by federal forces, and need for federal assistance during drought and disasters,  Governor Ricky Perry wants to make the federal government “as inconsequential in our lives as possible”.

If we eliminated the hundreds of thousands of “inconsequential” government jobs added to Texas’s economy, Perry’s bragging about Texas job growth would ring hollow.

What Americans want is not an inconsequential government. What Americans want is an efficient, caring government. Let’s not forget: Only government can truly do big things. We here in St. Charles realize this since the interstate highway system started right here.

Why are Senators John McCain and Jon Kyl, of Arizona, ripping government interference while they drink water and light their homes from Hoover and Glenn Canyon dams? Much of the Southwest would be home only to Saguaro cactus and rattlesnakes if it weren’t for the federal government.

The same is true of all the Southern ‘states rights’ advocates who get their water, electric and flood control from the Tennessee Valley Authority.

Sara Palin’s hateful speech against the federal government is completely two-faced because no state takes a bigger federal handout than Alaska.  The federal government spends over $15,000 per person yearly to keep Alaska afloat. Remember the “bridge to nowhere”?

Or what about government bashing politicians from the lightly populated arid  Western states? If it wasn’t for the federal government, there would be no interstate highway system traveling thousands of miles though states where jack rabbits out number people 100 to 1. Nor would there be farming in their almost desert-like land, if it weren’t for federal water reclamation and irrigation projects.

In addition, no American is safe from tornados, hurricanes, earthquakes, massive fires, and other calamities. Whether in Joplin, Tuscaloosa, Alabama, or  Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, Americans look to the federal government for help in times of crisis.

The truth is: Government is us. It is our son or daughter defending us in a far-off land. It is our brother-in-law, the fireman, our brethren in church, the policeman, and our neighbor, the teacher. It is the mailman delivering a letter to us for only $.44 that the ‘man in brown’ wouldn’t touch for less than $7.00. It is the Boeing employee machining a part for an F-18 fighter, and the construction worker building our bridges, highways, and schools. All of them deserve more respect than the unwarranted criticism Republicans heap on them.

It is too easy for us to just blame someone else, like the Tea Party does. No personal responsibility on the behalf of Tea Party folks. Can it be Tea Partiers were deceived by George Bush and brought this recession on with their vote for the wrong man?

Americans need to take responsibility for the government they created.  In a nation that was born of compromise, it is our fault if we elect those who are completely unwilling to yield, even on the smallest point.

It is time we all became informed, active, and accountable. What America needs is good competent government – not a stubborn, my way or the highway Tea Party’s simplistic “no government”.

Carl Peterson

Originally posted on St. Charles Democrats site. For more Talking Points for Democrats go to http://www.stcdems.org