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Guest column | Gus Berger

Stow those petty gripes till a real calamity unfolds

Consider their worn-out gripes:

"How dare that county employee use 'my' tax dollars to pay for his education to advance his skills and excel, strengthening his community through newly acquired expertise."

"How dare that firefighter who must work three consecutive 24/7 days, pull into McDonald's and purchase a hamburger in a county fire truck using 'my' tax dollars to pay for the gas."

"How dare that schoolteacher, who has a master's degree in education with minors in history or chemistry, stand up at a budget hearing to discuss how 'my' taxes will be spent on his merit pay raise."

"How dare those employees waste 'my' tax dollars by spending an extra half-hour at a restaurant on their lunch break, celebrating their co-worker's 30-year employment anniversary."

"How dare those City Council members agree to pay for the installation of traffic signal cameras for safety purposes in order to get a snapshot of a drunken driver's license tag with 'my' tax dollars."

"How dare the Florida Department of Transportation erect more bridges, overpasses, highways, walkways, skyways, archways and expressways for expeditious travel destinations with 'my' tax dollars, then double-dip again at tollbooths for more of 'my' tax dollars.''

"How dare the U.S. government wage wars against drugs, terrorism, gang violence and air piracy, while fighting for national safety and homeland security with 'my' tax dollars.''

Are you fatigued by gripers griping? Do gripers grasp at straws to find something to gripe about? Have gripers shown a determination to talk with envy and jealousy, act grudgingly with resentment, and clench to the notion that everything is "their" money?

Do gripers desire to take dominion over our elected officials to run the show, even though they lost the political race to their challengers? Are gripers losers? Do gripers turn on each other?

Gripers steer your thinking toward the good life that you are living at this moment: freedom of religion, freedom to vote, freedom of choice, freedom of the press, freedom to be whoever and whatever you want to be, and to travel where you want. Not every government has those freedoms.

So, why not gripe about governments that deprive freedoms, instead of knocking your own government, which gives you full rein of freedom?

Gripers, there are consequences for idly griping instead of focusing on serious issues, such as making sure local government has plenty of money in reserve to restore our community should a tornado or hurricane take our homes, families, streets, businesses and schools.

Why squander precious time griping when times are good?

Gripers, there may be a time of crisis when you will need a healthy fire rescue department to treat your injuries, emergency planning and public works departments to clean up in the aftermath, sheriff's deputies for dispatch, broadcast weather warnings, and the health and human services departments for financial assistance and physical rehabilitation.

Thank God for government employees, who pay their taxes, too, without griping about it. Local government employees will be working unselfishly around the clock for gripers during the duration of hurricane season, helping to re-establish and replace public safety in our neighborhoods.

Gripers, count your blessings and stop griping; pay your taxes promptly and stop chronically talking about downsizing government. Once a natural disaster occurs, your government will be your safety net. Don't destroy it when times are good because you will need it when times are bad. Support government. Be proud and vote.

Collectively we need to work together, not against, our government.

Gus Berger lives in Brooksville. Guest columnists write their own views about subjects they choose and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper.

Stow those petty gripes till a real calamity unfolds 05/26/08 [Last modified: Friday, May 30, 2008 11:22am]

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