My favorite television programs are the old reruns of the Andy Griffith Show. Not those in color but the black and white ones where Andy seems more of what I would call “rural relaxed” in the way he settles the situations that Mayberry residents present to him on each program. The colored ones are all right, but Andy just seems to be a little more up tight on those shows. You know, like folks are today when it comes to Congress and matters like that. I guess going from black and white TV put him more on the edge from modern day problems.
Over the years, Andy and Barney have taught several generations how to behave in life, as well as entertained us all. If I had to choose one of the characters from all of these programs that really was one of my favorites, it would have to be Ernest T. Bass. Everyone remembers him because Ernest was kind of weird. In fact, he was really weird. His major sport was wrestling and breaking windowpanes with rocks, which seemed to keep everyone on edge. His social graces were something to question and his singing is what kept him up in the hills. What I liked about Ernest T. was his poetry. It was simple and to the point. And, when he combined his poetry with drumming on a gallon can to give it rhythm, his performance may have been the first creation of rap.
A few years back I read a poem that had no author, but it could have come straight from Ernest T. himself. It dealt with the subject of taxes, which Ernest T. would have been totally against. Let me share the poem with you.
Tax his cow, Tax his goat;
Tax his pants, Tax his coat;
Tax his crop, Tax his work;
Tax his ties, Tax his shirt;
Tax his chew, Tax his smoke;
Teach him taxing is no joke.
Tax his tractor, Tax his mule;
Tell him, Taxing is the rule.
Tax his oil, Tax his gas
Tax his notes, Tax his cash;
If he hollers, Tax him more;
Tax him till he’s good and sore.
Tax his coffin, Tax his grave,
Tax his sod in which he’s laid.
Put these words upon his tomb,
“Taxes drove him to his doom.”
After he’s gone, we won’t relax.
We’ll still collect inheritance tax.
Just like this poem and Ernest T., none of us like taxes, but we do have to pay them. We all like certain government programs that benefit us. Good roads, schools, health care, police, and many more state funded items help us all. The real truth is we just don’t like to pay for them.
Right now, my property tax notice containing a new appraisal of my property is being sent out and I’m sure it has gone up. Up in Nashville the governor and the state legislature are involved in another round of discussions concerning Tennessee’s current financial problems and county governments across the state are facing budgets as tight as Dick’s hatband.
On top of all of this, Washington just voted on health care, which has everyone in an uproar. Whether you are against it or for it, the interesting thing is it seems no one can really tell you why they hate it or love it because it seems no one really knows what it says other than those who are telling us why we should love it or hate it.
One of the great things about our government is the fact we all have a voice in what happens. Now, before you go on an Ernest T. rant and say I’m a nut and don’t know what I’m talking about, listen to what I have to say. Whether we are elected officials or just citizens, we have the opportunity to voice our opinions. As citizens our opinions are heard by the way we vote and election time is now upon us.
Ernest T. may have been a bit strange, but he did voice his opinion. We voice our opinions too, but usually just to each other or by complaining to our neighbors. Now is the time to let your senator, representative, or even the governor candidates know how you feel concerning important issues that face us all. It is time to let your opinion be heard one way or the other. Don’t vote just to kick someone out because they are on a party you don’t like, but vote for someone who will voice your opinion and make a difference. If you want government cuts, which programs should they be?
Remember, it can’t be everyone else’s favorite programs, either. You may have to sacrifice something, too.
But, get involved!
As Ernest T. may have said on today’s events, “They haven’t heard the last from the voting class.”