As I sit and watch the news, a lesson my dad often repeated to me about the choices I made and a rule of life keeps playing over in my mind. The words my dad said to me were, “Weenie Girl; you can’t have it both ways. Life doesn’t work like that. You have to choose one or the other, but you can’t have your cake and eat it too.” These phrases were used when I wanted to be in two places at one time, or I had a conflict with friends, and later on, it was about boys. When I was a kid, this phrase annoyed me, but I see the wisdom in those words as an adult.
People are up in arms over a number of situations. For example, people are protesting outside our public schools against mask-wearing for our students. Some people are protesting mandated vaccinations for high-risk jobs or government jobs. These topics are all hot-button topics right now, and for a good reason. People feel strongly about restricting their children. They feel strongly about being forced to put something foreign into their bodies. People should feel strongly about these topics. The glory of the United States is that we have the freedom to protest and disagree without persecution. However, we need to reflect upon our opinions and make sure they align with our actions.
The glorious thing about living in America is we have options. I feel as a society, we cherry-pick our government involvement. Thousands of individuals are willing to accept payment from the government but refuse to work even though they are able-bodied with available jobs. One cannot expect something for free with no strings attached, especially from the government. So it seems reasonable that if one is willing to accept payment, then the government can mandate what that person must do to hold a position or keep receiving said payment. Society cherry-picks. Individuals are not outraged when money is given to them, but they are outraged when the government places mandates on what that person must do in response to those payments.
Whatever happened to autonomy? What happened to work hard, move up through the ranks, think for yourself, take care of yourself, and be responsible for your actions? We can’t be willing to accept government support and not lose our autonomy and freedoms as a society. In my mind, it is simple; we can’t have it both ways. As individuals, we must be willing to be autonomous or accept the consequences of government involvement.
We want our school districts to offer the best free education possible to our children. Our districts accept government funding to improve our schools, pay the bills, etc. Nobody wants their taxes to increase; that is outrageous. However, with government funding, we have now opened the door to government involvement. Now, because the districts have accepted Covid relief funding, the government has the power to mandate that our students wear masks while on school property. If districts do not comply, funding will be withheld or revoked. It is a vicious cycle. Again, we cannot have it both ways. Protesting outside our schools is like yelling at the cashier at the grocery store for the store policy. That poor cashier is just trying to earn a paycheck. The cashier doesn’t make the rules; they just do the job that their supervisor pays them to do.
Not only does it come down to the simple rule that one can’t have it both ways, but it also comes down to exercising your right to choose. If one is not happy with the state policy imposed upon public school districts, one can choose alternative education. If one does not like the policy set by one’s employer, one has the option to change one’s employment. In my simple mind, I feel that if one wants to send a clear, autonomous message, the rational thing to do is exercise the freedom of choice. As a society, we need to stop yelling at the little guy and hit the big guys where it hurts most. If one chooses alternative education and enough students leave public education, it sends an unmistakable message. If employees quit, and a corporation is left with no manpower, it sends an unmistakable message. For real change to occur, we need to first learn the unpleasant life lesson that we can’t have both ways.
My dear reader, I mean no offense to anyone. It is just the simple musings of a soap-making goat farmer and her perspective on the state of our world. My dad, as usual, was absolutely correct. We really can’t have it both ways. However, we now have the important task of choosing. One more thing, stay safe, dear reader, be smart, and choose to wash your hands.