Fandango’s Provocative Question #16

So the question is:

“Should taxpayers have the option to explicitly say what they don’t want their tax dollars spent on?”

I think we settled this during our revolutionary war. We explicitly demanded that only voters can be taxed. We never suggested we have the right to choose what we pay for. We don’t get a menu of selections, check those that suit us and refuse to pay for the rest.

In this benighted world, here’s my neighborhood.

My right-hand neighbor hates cops. He doesn’t want to pay for them.

The guy on the left resents school taxes.  He never had kids. Never wanted them. Doesn’t feel like paying for education no one in his family is going to get.

Down the road, that guy has a big powerful SUV, so he doesn’t care if the roads are plowed or not. If you can’t get through, well, too bad. Why should he pay for your transportation? He’s got his own.

The then there’s the one on the opposite corner. He doesn’t believe in government at all. He doesn’t feel obliged to pay for anything. He’s the creepy guy who wouldn’t turn his hose on if his neighbor’s house was on fire. You want him choosing which taxes to pay? Maybe he’s part of a group and none of them will pay anything at all.

We settled this. Long ago.

Taxes exist in law. We pay them because we are legally required to do so. You don’t have to like anything about the government, governor, Congress, or the school board. Or the cops, the town selectman, or the Mayor.

There are laws and we abide by them.

Government is not lunch where you get to pick whatever you want from any page on the menu. No picking and choosing which parts of the government you support. The closest you can get to that kind of choice is voting for whoever will support the programs you support. That’s what makes a government.

The picking and choosing from different parts of the menu is not a government. It’s lunch.


I know you think you are helping people by trying to get everyone to close on holidays, but it isn’t necessarily everyone’s best choice or preference.

It might be the right thing for you … but what about me?

Taking wing

What about the people next door? Are they just like you? Same holidays? Same available choices? Same kind of family?

Same religion?

When you promote a work ban on holidays, consider that many folks don’t have families. These are people who are grateful to be working.

Moreover, there are many individuals and families who count on the extra money they can earn by working holidays.

Not everyone is equally enthusiastic or sentimental about traditional celebrations. There are plenty of people for whom Christmas, Thanksgiving, or Columbus Day are non-starters.

They have their reasons and they are entitled to them.

Not everyone has someplace to go and a warm, fuzzy family to share with. It’s wonderful to be grateful for what we have.

It’s also good to be mindful that not everyone is equally or similarly blessed … and not everyone celebrates the same holidays.

And. Even those who celebrate the same holidays do not necessarily celebrate them the same way you do or on the same dates.


Life is a path with many forks. When you choose one, the others continue to exist and for each turn not taken, a separate reality based on the choice you didn’t make is created. If we had the right magic — or physics — we could go back and explore those other realities. It might be interesting, or horrifying.


During the summer between my junior and senior year, I got a three-way choice.

Door number one. My old boyfriend — with whom I could not have a civil conversation, but with whom I had exceptional sex — sent me tickets to join him on Cape May for the summer. After which, anything could happen. At 18, it was a surprisingly attractive offer.

Door number two. The guy I’d been dating asked me to marry him. I liked him. I don’t think anyone would classify it as deathless romance, but it was a serviceable, sturdy kind of relationship. Building-a-life kind of love.

Door number three. I was accepted as a transfer student to Boston University. They had (still have) a terrific program in communications. I wanted that degree … and to be in Boston. In the 1960s, Boston was a super cool town, unlike very uncool Hempstead.

It was a lot of deciding.

I chose to get married. Not the most thrilling choice, but it gave me a safe harbor to finish school, start a career, break out of my parent’s control — all of which were important for me. It was not just marriage. It was emancipation.

Was it the “just right” choice? Your guess is as good as mine. We make choices based on who we are at the time of choosing, plus what we want, know, or guess about the future.

I made a sane choice, a reasoned choice. One I thought I could handle. It worked out. I haven’t put much time into wondering where the other paths might have led. It doesn’t matter. Here is where I am and I believe it’s where I ought to be.

My current home.

It’s amusing to wonder if that summer was the beginning of three realities, two of which exist on other planes, somewhere in the time-space continuum. “Out there” is a Marilyn who went to Boston, another who went to Cape May.

If I ever bump into them, I’ll have to make sure and ask me how it went.

Hello, Goldilocks!


Two paths before you, one paved and smooth, the destination known. The other is rough, the destination unclear.

You stand, you look, you ponder. Then … you  must choose. Which of the two paths will take you where you want to go?

Where do you want to go?


two paths choice

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