So being a resident of the Live Free or Die state and coming from Massachusetts which is hugely liberal but loves electing hugely moderate republicans, government for me has always been truly fascinating.
So lately I hear a lot about get the government out of our lives and my taxes are too high so what am I getting out of this?? Now big shock I fall into the giant hippy liberal camp so we will leave touchy political topics out of this and focus on one of my favorites volunteerism.
Right now I find I hear a lot of what is my government doing for me, for my tax money, but that’s not how we started out, not at all. Taxes were meant to cover the basics and then people, regular everyday people filled in the rest. But here’s the thing people think we pay too much for social services and taxes are too high and the solution is to slash budgets and cut taxes, but where does that leave us?
What if we took it the other way, leave the budgets keep all the taxes and start improving things ourselves. If every person donated in some way to their community, school, etc and we started there maybe we wouldn’t need so many taxes. As we moved away from the industrial revolution and everyone spread out we lost that sense of community in so many places. And in cities there are so many people and its really hard to think one person can make a difference.
Then there is the elephant in the room, why should I if they don’t. Well if this is how you feel then I guess I can only go full mom and say things like because life isn’t fair, because its the right thing to do etc. Now as an adult to adult I’d say because even if they don’t, don’t you want a more beautified town? Is there someway to contribute by doing something that you love doing already?
Then if we all do something, anything and give just a but more then we think we should maybe all those taxes won’t be needed as much, maybe it will be the *broken window effect and towns will have less crime and we will pay less to incarcerate people, maybe the schools would offer better and more innovative programs, the possibilities are endless.
So get out there today clean up litter on your street, swing by your elementary school with some crayons and hand sanitizer, attend your local high school play even if you don’t have kids, coach youth sports, build a website highlighting the best spots in your community, offer to run an educational session at your local library on your area of expertise or simply just ask what you can do to help.
What have you done to make your community better? Is it big is it small? What do you wish you could do?
*The broken window effect is a concept that by cleaning up a community “fixing the broken windows” people take more pride in ownership and are less likely to vandalize things or commit crimes. This has been studied with positive results.