Sunday, December 13, 2015

Even before 1960, Americans felt their freedom slipping away...

THE LISTENER by Taylor Caldwell (1960 pp.246-247)
It was funny. Pa worked in a machine shop. They didn’t call him Labor, then. He was a man. He wasn’t Labor. He was a person. Independent. He’d have his beer on the porch at night, and his neighbors would come and they’d talk politics and get real excited. And sometimes sweat. Who were the Presidents then? She didn’t remember. Presidents come and then they go. Nobody remembered them, except when they did some kind of harm, and then the people cursed them. But it was a kind of happy cursing. Washington was a long way off. Now it was kind of everywhere. Who wanted it? It was like something looking over your shoulder all the time and breathing down your neck. Making you hurry, hurry, hurry. “Growth.” For what? And Washington wanted your money; she had to pay out taxes on what she earned by her hard work. For what? Who wanted your money and made Washington scream for it like it was a pack of policemen? It didn’t make sense. What a person earned was always his own, earned with the sweat of his brow, like the Bible said. Now, it looked like, it wasn’t yours. It was somebody else’s. Why? Did they earn it on their knees in somebody’s kitchen or doing somebody’s laundry? No sir. They didn’t. But they wanted your money all the same, even if they hadn’t earned it themselves. She wondered what Pa would say about all this. He’d say, “The country’s gone to the dogs, for sure. And maybe we’d better roll up our sleeves and get it back for ourselves.” Yes, that’s what Pa would say. And all the men like him. They talked all the time about the Revolution and the Boston Tea Party. Maybe what the country needed was another Tea Party.

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