perspective that in this particular election cycle, we will choose one of two different paths.When I first heard that Obion County (Tennessee) officials ordered their firefighters not to put out a residential fire because the owner of the property failed to pay the $75 annual fee, my first thoughts (for some reason) were hearing Dick Armey say, "if Social Security is such a great program, why is it mandatory?" followed by Rep. Paul Ryan's
Despite all of its disturbing absence of conscience and morality, Olbion County officials unwittingly put one of those two paths on display. Let's just say that social justice and American compassion were nowhere to be found.
As ThinkProgress has noted, there are currently two competing visions of governance in the United States. One, the conservative vision, believes in the on-your-own society, and informs a policy agenda that primarily serves the well off and privileged sectors of the country. The other vision, the progressive one, believes in an American Dream that works for all people, regardless of their racial, religious, or economic background.
I don't know the homeowner Gene Cranick at all, but after watching this interview (video below) with Keith Olbermann, I couldn't help but sense he got a first-hand taste of living in Paul Ryan's Dickensian America and Ayn Rand's guilt-tripping label of a freeloading "parasite" when he felt he had to defend himself as "working hard for everything I got." If anything, Cranick sounds more like a person who has sadly bought into the taxed enough already argument when he consoled himself thinking that part of his taxes going to the local fire department should have sufficed.
Still, nobody deserves to watch their house burn down while firefighters stand idly by simply because they didn't pay the government's fee - even if the homeowner didn't pay it because he thought he was "taxed enough already." Obviously, the choice to "opt out" whether intentional or not should have never been available.
It will be interesting to see how his homeowner's insurance company responds to his situation. Very sad indeed.