Dedicated Asheville liberals can rejoice now that they hold a controlling majority on the new City Council. In fact, the composition of this majestic body has been effectively limited to two political philosophies — liberal and superliberal. But those sincere souls with other than a feigned interest in diversity might pause for a moment to consider the limitations associated with any homogenized body — especially one that has access to our pockets.
More special deals for special people
Several of the new Council members are grabbing hold of the reins of leadership with passion. It appears that much of their enthusiasm will be directed toward crafting special deals for still more special interests. First mission of mercy: extending the city's generous benefits package to domestic partners.
Special interests are special in their potential to raise our awareness. They become less special when they morph into selfish interests working to milk the common interest.
Finishing off a sick system
Employee family benefits were created with two main goals: supporting healthy procreation in a family unit and securing worker loyalty. It's hard to argue with either agenda, but on a 21st-century cost/benefit basis, the system already struggles to bear the burden.
Then there's our national health-care-coverage crisis. When you take competition out and rig a free market; micromanage every piece of the puzzle; give legal predators a pass; and then load the system with underfunded government health programs, failure is predetermined.
Finally, the city's budgetary reality finds our mayor asking equally broke state and county spendthrifts to bail out our progressive Council's appetite for nice-over-necessary and the promise of something for nothing. Having whittled the city's cash reserves by half and committed to unsustainable entitlement programs and public-works projects, the city's fantasy budget is in the process of colliding with reality.
Enter the LGBT lobby
Nowhere in our culture are we having an honest dialogue on the issues of heterosexuality vs. homosexuality. Any such attempts are typically shouted down by those living in a black-or-white ditch on either side of the truth. For survival of the species, nature leans pretty convincingly in one direction. Perhaps that is why the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities are trying to lean on Asheville taxpayers for their survival.
The LGBT lobby is playing the system just as most other special-interest groups do, whether liberal or conservative. True to form for those seducing public dollars, anyone reading the three reports attached to this particular City Council agenda item would come away believing that domestic-partner benefits would end world hunger and reverse global warming. As a bonus, they would also shove Asheville's few remaining conservative voices into a closet of shame.
The MOAA, the Firefighters Association and the LGBT lobby have a lot in common
During my recent candidacy for public office, I received dozens of questionnaires soliciting endorsement of the agendas of various special-interest groups. Among the standouts were the WNC chapter of the Military Officers Association of America and the Asheville Firefighters Association — both of which, judging by their willingness to rob our national and local treasuries, respectively, had a well-developed sense of personal entitlement.
A special moment on the campaign trail came when I had the chance to say, "Sorry, Gen. So-and-So, but I am not into special deals that mortgage our children's futures." A similar opportunity arose with our local Firefighters Association. Let's just say that neither group wound up becoming a buddy.
And based on those experiences, I would respectfully suggest that the MOAA and the Firefighters Association have a lot in common with the LGBT lobby. There is little difference in robbing Peter to pay Gen. Paul, Fireman Paul or RuPaul.
Picking pockets under a pretense of virtue
We live in a culture in which personal entitlement is flaunted as a virtue — even when it means stepping on our fellow man. On the one hand, we have the MOAA and the Firefighters Association pretending that prior military service and current public service give one the right to push one's way to the front of the breadline. On the other, we have the LGBT fraternity pretending that personal uniqueness merits similar consideration. This reach for more than a fair share is more about culture vultures than culture virtues.
The truth is, there is no magic money bucket — in Washington, Raleigh or Asheville. There are only increasingly strained individual taxpayers trying to make it in a competitive world. The real American Dream is about having the liberty to bring our own unique talents to productive life — not seeing how successful we can be in stepping on the backs of the less organized.
It's tough being an out-of-the-closet conservative in a decidedly conservative-unfriendly town. As a minority with a social conscience, I hold no inner phobias toward military officers, Firefighters Association members or the LGBT community. I am, however, an admitted dealophobic.
Strip away the pretense, and the real objective of both our newly elected Council leadership and the LGBT community is simply establishing a special deal that seeks to rob one set of pockets in order to fill another. And there is nothing special, progressive or even healthy about stealing …
[Former Asheville City Council member Carl Mumpower can be reached at DrMumpower@aol.com.]