It's my life

By Ken Frederic | Apr 04, 2019

I marvel at my wife’s knowledge of movies and music: She’s a formidable trivia opponent. I may know an artist’s name or a popular piece, but rarely do I associate the two. So, I was struck when I first actually listened to Billy Joel’s “My Life” lyrics about a month ago: How often I’ve thought:

“I don't care what you say anymore this is my life

Go ahead with your own life leave me alone

And you can speak your mind

But not on my time”

When she pointed me to “Revolution,” I looked up the lyrics and found the Beatles had also captured my thoughts years before they occurred to me.

“Well, you know

We all want to change the world

But when you talk about destruction

Don't you know that you can count me out

You say you got a real solution

Well, you know

We'd all love to see the plan…"

“Revolution” contains much more, addressing the notion that individuals have the right to decide where their contributions go and, even more importantly, that the message to those proposing to change the Constitution should be that what we want is for them to change their thinking.

We’ve long been plagued by demagogues (last month’s "feather merchants") who appoint themselves the guardians of the rest of us. These demagogues invariably preach that we can’t care for ourselves, that we are being "oppressed," or that we aren’t spending our money morally. Instead, they propose, we should turn over our freedom of choice to them and they will care for us and others, protect us from oppression, and set the rules for how much wealth each of us should be allowed to accumulate and what we must do with it. They insist the government will treat us with the fairness, compassion, empathy and equity that our neighbors, employers, family, friends and churches will not. Remote bureaucrats will make decisions with universal fairness and efficiency and ensure equality of outcomes for us all.

But, before he died in 1947, Henry Ford told us: “Any man who thinks he can be happy and prosperous by letting the government take care of him better take a closer look at the American Indian.” And surely, we’ve all heard the joke about Chief Walking Eagle. I would challenge any who doubt to ask a school teacher (but not an administrator) how much the federal Department of Education and Common Core have improved classroom instruction. Ask a practicing physician how much the ACA, Medicare and Medicaid have improved patient services or reduced opioid abuse.

The worst feather merchants are politicians who promise to fix our problems in exchange for just a little of our freedom and our vote to increase someone else’s taxes and confiscate their "excess" wealth. They may project confidence, sincerity and even competence, and some may even know a bit of what they preach, but the feather merchants won’t be making the decisions: Some federal or state bureaucrat will. Ask yourself: In your experience, which of those that you’ve interacted with would you have decide what kind of house you need, what furnishings and appliances you need, what food you need, which car you need, how much gasoline or heating oil you need, or whether your child is sick enough to need a doctor?

I don’t want government “help,” and I surely don’t want people who, in my estimation, are unfit to decide which side of their own toast to butter to decide my needs. Some elected officials I respect and admire, but others I deplore and hold in the utmost contempt, along with most bureaucrats that ordinary folks encounter.

To them I say: This is my life. Leave me alone. Leave my neighbors alone. Leave my town alone. Leave my county alone. Leave my employer alone. Frankly, your results don’t impress me much. How dare you propose to manage for me what you’ve failed to manage for yourself!

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Comments (4)
Posted by: Seth Thayer | Jul 19, 2019 06:20

“I don't care what you say anymore this is my life

Go ahead with your own life leave me alone

And you can speak your mind

But not on my time”


I so wish you would practice what you preach!


Posted by: Richard McKusic, Sr. | Apr 05, 2019 17:19

April 5th is Golden Rule Day around the world. Have enjoyed watching programming from around the world. I believe the Beatles also had a song called. "Come Together".  Hope and love will always trump fear and hate because it is so much more fun and will make us  sleep much sounder.   I know what works for me; it may not work for you. ;)   Maine Teen Advocacy Coalition gives this old duffer encouragement that our world will be in good hands.

Posted by: Kevin Riley | Apr 05, 2019 12:27
Posted by: Mary A McKeever | Apr 04, 2019 16:13

A-Men!  .... You said it all!

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