In the suburbs, your mail isn't necessarily brought to your door, as it is if you own a home in the city. No, in the burbs, you often have to walk across the street, at the very least. (My friend Mary, in an adjoining suburb, says she often DRIVES to get the mail in winter.)
So today I walked across the street to get the mail and rifled through it as I walked back to my house. It was a beautiful, pacific, sun-dappled day, and I was just back from watching my boys play YMCA baseball. But my alert system started going up when I noticed a flyer from Rep. John Kline in the bundle.
Kline is the Republican who represents Dakota County, Minn., in the U.S. House of Representatives. In the 2 1/2 years I've lived here, I've contacted him only once, to ask him to be a co-sponsor in the House of Sen. Jim Webb's bill calling for the creating of a national criminal justice reform commission. At that time (April 2009), after repeated e-mails to him upon getting no reponse, I finally got a call from a staffer who completely misunderstood what my concern was.
Instead of answering my question about co-sponsorship of the commission bill, the staffer wanted me to know that Rep. Kline was doing all he could to squeeze prisoners and make them more miserable if at all possible. I blogged about this at the time, and someone commented, "Sounds like John Kline - ignoring and belittling his constituents."
Today's missive from Rep. Kline showed a picture of a white family of four on their suburban lawn on one side, and a picture of the IRS building in Washington on the other. The caption read, "Whose side are you on?" Would you be shocked to learn that Mr. Kline is on the side of the white suburban family, not the faceless agency in the nation's capital that would actually ask them to fulfill their duty as citizens by paying taxes?
In my view, this blatant pandering to the fantasies of the tea-party movement is intellectually dishonest. That white suburban family of four that you invoke, Rep. Kline, counts on the federal government for the common defense, for the care of seniors (not pictured in the representative's flyer), and in so many other ways that those who so blithely bash Obama willfully ignore.
It's called a false dichotomy, Rep. Kline. White suburban family vs. the IRS? Not really. The side you should be on is BOTH people AND the IRS. After all, the IRS merely collects the money that enables a government of the people, by the people, for the people to exist.
Yes, there have been IRS abuses in the past, and surely still are. But politicos of Rep. Kline's ilk have got to get beyond the antinomies. Otherwise, they are little more than members of what Thomas Frank calls "the wrecking crew." They disingenously seek election to government office only so they can trash the very government they are supposed to serve.