November 4, 1997
It’s Election Day!
Here at The Outrage our blood always flows a little faster as we prepare to head for the polls and cast our vote for the candidate of our choice.
We find the experience both exhilarating and difficult, what with all the fine choices available. There’s the Republican choice, the Democratic choice, and the…well, who needs more than two choices when they’re this good!
The Outrage has the good fortune to be based ten minutes outside of the capitol of the free world, Washington, DC, in Alexandria, Virginia. Here in Virginia we have ringside seats for one of the nation’s most closely watched electoral contests, the Virginia governor’s race.
Behind door number one, we have Republican James S. Gilmore. Behind door number two we have Democrat Donald S. Beyer. Choosing between the two is like having to choose between a Trollope and a Thackeray novel, or between Bach and Beethoven.
But that’s not all. Because the Virginia governor’s race is a “key contest” and also because, well, there are not that many important races this year, we’re treated to visits from the big guns.
Yes, indeed, President Bill Clinton crossed the river to campaign for his party’s choice, Don Beyer. And what did Mr. Clinton talk about but character. Strange but true — the man under attack for sexual philandering, illegal campaign finance, and a host of other issues came to our local courthouse in Alexandria and gave us a sermon. Most entertaining.
Meanwhile, the Virginia gubernatorial race actually hinges on the property tax we Virginians pay on our automobiles. The tax is an emotional issue as it amounts to several hundred dollars per car, per year — in addition, of course, to federal income tax, state income tax, state sales tax, local meals tax, business taxes, phone taxes, etc. Here at the DO we calculate that we’ve paid almost as much in car tax over the life of our cars as they’re currently worth.
It’s no great shocker that candidate Gilmore’s proposal to abolish the car tax has been wildly popular here in the Old Dominion. Part of the reason for this popularity may be due to the fact that it’s a regressive tax. The working poor are likely to own some sort of car, but are not terribly likely to be subject to a tax on Armani imports, polo equipment, or Concorde air fares.
Beyer has countered that eliminating the tax is the moral equivalent of running over children with a school bus. Even the cynics here at DO are fond of little tykes, and of course we recoiled from the idea that we were running over the little darlings. (Actually, since we can’t afford to pay the car tax we can’t drive our car, so the kids are safe from us.)
We’ve spent a lot of time trying to figure this one out. First of all, we thought that a tax on cars might be used for something like paying for roads — you know, actually related to cars. But that was a silly thought.
Don Beyer tells us that our car tax is actually being used for education. As Mr. Beyer explains, MORE MONEY means MORE EDUCATION. We should have already known this, as of course the American solution for every conceivable problem is MORE MONEY. (Hey, maybe if we had MORE MONEY we could afford to pay that car tax.)
We always thought that education might be about things other than money; things like intellectual curiosity, values, disciplined study, thoughtful analysis — that sort of stuff. But our teachers always said we were educationally challenged.
While Clinton and Beyer were bashing Gilmore for “selfishness” the latter responded by saying “It is NOT selfish for Virginians to have their own money to improve the lives of their own children.” Gilmore is clearly setting a dangerous precedent here, by suggesting that citizens should spend their own money, rather than entrusting it to the wiser care of politicians. What if he gets elected? What will he do if he doesn’t have our money to spend?
Well, we’re off to vote — and we’re certainly hoping the ballot will include a box that we can mark to SEND DO MORE MONEY.
READ MORE ABOUT IT
Read more about today’s Outrage in the Washington Post story.
Quote of the Day!
We’d all like t’vote for th’ best man, but he’s never a candidate.
— Kin Hubbard, “The Best of Kin Hubbard,” 1984
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