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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

This is what's wrong with America.

On the way to work this morning there was a short little story about a fire department who had used the wrong address on the return envelopes for a fundraising drive. And I think it was just supposed to be kind of a cute little "ha,ha silly firemen" kind of an end of the hour feel-good story. But of course, they missed what should have been the point of the story.

Why in the HELL are Fire Departments having to do fundraisers?

Why should fire departments have to ask for donations as if they were some sort of private charity and not a public agency that benefits everyone? This is everything wrong with America in a nutshell. And it's not just this one particular department.

Artists to auction work to help fund fire department in Rist Canyon 

Ledgeview fundraiser nets $1,500 for fire department 

Turley Fire Department seeks donations for repairs

 Fundraiser set for Vilonia Fire Department

Needville plans fundraiser to assist fire department 

Firefighters, EMS To Hold Fundraiser At Dish 'N Dat

 U of R donates $30,000 to firetruck fund

REDLANDS - The Redlands Ladder Truck fund is about halfway to its goal, thanks to generous donations from various organizations. Wednesday was a big day for the fundraiser, as the Redlands Fire Department received three big donations to go toward replacing its outdated ladder truck.
All those headlines are from the last couple weeks. All these fire departments are having to go begging for money from the public because we have apparently come to a time in our history when we are no longer willing to fund the most basic, most necessary  services with our tax dollars. We would rather have our heroes going hat in hand to various philanthropists and organizations than have corporations pay taxes on their billions of dollars in profits. 

Someday, when history students are asked "Why did the most powerful nation in the history of the world die out?" they can point to this. They decided that they would rather let fire departments (not to mention schools, police depts, hospitals, etc) go un-funded than ask billionaire CEO's to maybe try and chip in a little.

1 comment:

J Thomas said...

Traditionally, volunteer fire departments were run by, well, volunteers. They collected their own money to buy their own equipment. They ran their own fire departments and they were responsible to nobody. Completely independent! That's an American value.

More recently, they have tended to be replaced by government-sponsored, government-run fire departments. These firefighters are paid from tax money, their equipment is paid from tax money, and they are responsible to the government and indirectly to the voters. This is another American value.

Now in many places the two are mixed and exist in an uneasy balance. Volunteers are still welcome to donate their time and serve as backup, while union firefighters are the front line and try to trash the volunteers at every opportunity. They claim the volunteers ask for donation money that will be spent only for their parties.

I'm not really involved in either side and I don't know how much truth there is in either story. It probably varies a lot from place to place.