Pay over Patriotism.

One way of framing the current conservative government model in relation to a progressive model is to look at who is supposed to be performing the public work and why.

I would argue that at the present time this becomes a contest between the ideas of work done for love of country vs. work done for love of money. By taking government functions away from civil servants and handing them over to private contractors, conservatives are saying that love of money is a more important motivating factor than love of country. This choice of pay over patriotism can be used to help recapture the word patriotism for progressives by asking a simple question.

Love of Country or Love of Money?

More on the flip.

Love of country or love of money?

That is the question the conservative movement needs to answer. In Iraq at this very moment, Haliburton and a number of private security firms like Blackwater are doing jobs that would once have been performed by members of the United State military. This outsourcing of government functions is a natural outgrowth of the Republican contention that the private sector will always do things better than the public sector. In other words, love of money trumps love of country.

Ronald Reagan said that the scariest words in the English language are “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.” Grover Norquist said that he wants to shrink government to the size where “I can drown it in a bathtub.” For thirty years Republicans have argued that government is always the problem, never the solution. Anyone who went to a public school, has had their house saved by the fire department, their family protected by the police, or driven to work on a public road should be able to see the absurdity of this idea. And yet it has caught on to such an extent that the people who want to get rid of government are now running it.

And what are they doing? Outsourcing government wherever they can. Taking government functions away from poorly paid public servants who do their jobs because they want to give back to community and country and handing them to large for-profit corporations who are in the business to make money. You can’t blame the corporations. That’s why they came into existence. But you can blame the people who choose to take vital government functions from the people who work primarily for love of country and community and give them to those who work primarily for love of money.

The free market can do many things. It’s one of the most powerful forces in the world. But it is not government and anyone who believes that it can fulfill the role of government has forgotten that the fundamental driving force of the market is the love of money and the fundamental driving force of government is the love of country.

America has a choice to make over the next several years. Will we continue to elect governmental officials who don’t believe in government? Who would choose to hand over the reins to those who see it as a money making venture? Or will we turn back from that path and choose to elect progressives? The group that truly believes that government is of the people, by the people, and for the people? That chooses service over profits, and country over money?

Love of country? Or Love of money?

This a simple but powerful frame reinforced by continuing reluctance on the part of conservatives to spend the money necessary to truly support U.S. troops with such things as veteran’s benefits, while simultaneously paying out large sums to private contractors. As well as by numerous other similar decisions.

Some examples:

On Iraq:

Love of Country
Progressives support our soldiers.

Love of Money
Conservatives support Blackwater mercenaries.

On Katrina:

Love of Country
Progressives support a revitalized FEMA.

Love of Money
Conservatives support Halliburton.

This is my first diary at Booman Tribune, so I thought I’d try my first poll:

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