A Government of Loopholes

Shirley - Robertsdale, Alabama
Entered on March 15, 2009
Age Group: 50 - 65
  • Listen to This I Believe on RadioPublic

  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

I believe our government is no longer recognizable as the government our Founding Fathers imagined when they penned the Declaration of Independence. Nor is it the government Abraham Lincoln described in his Gettysburg Address. Our government, as Lincoln so eloquently stated, should stand as an example of a “government of the people, by the people, [and] for the people.” I believe our government has become a government of the loopholes, by the lawyers, and for the lobbyists.

Lobbyists claim to have my best interests at heart, but they consistently manipulate and maneuver through various loopholes. I don’t need lobbyists spending millions mailing out newsletters, advising me of their concept of our government, nor do I need the multiple loopholes created in the mounds of bills and laws passed by state and federal governments.

I don’t need a hand-out, or a hand-up, or anything concrete or stimulating from my government. I just need my government to recognize me as a human being, with human needs, the same needs my forefathers needed when they fought in the Revolution. I need the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

I fought for those rights in the 1960’s, when we, as a young, idealistic society of radical flower-children, argued for making love, not war. I fought for those rights as a young mother, struggling to make ends meet on a daily basis. Then I fought for those rights when I returned to college, to make something of myself, to satisfy a goal, to pursue happiness. My husband supported me wholeheartedly, but when I applied for aid, I did not qualify for anything other than student loans.

My father gave the ultimate sacrifice for his country, losing his life in the Pacific Ocean five months before my birth. I received a Navy stipend until I married, but I was never advised that to marry would create a loophole disallowing my right to a college education. Acquaintances who attended college with me qualified for government grants because they never married, but my loophole was created because I loved and married, and therefore disqualified.

I deserve the common decency of not being harassed at work, or losing my job because of wage garnishment, when I cannot pay student loans at this time. Our government may be lobbyists, lawyers, and loopholes, but Lincoln’s concept of a government of the people, by the people [and] for the people is still the backbone of our society. This I believe.