Limited Taxation & Government
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Barbara's Bi-Weekly Column

The Patriot Ledger
Saturday, December 5, 1998

Her 'Real Job' Was Great Fun, But Now She's Got A Life
By Barbara Anderson

I have always enjoyed getting holiday newsletters. It's my chance to catch up on the lives that once occupied the same general space as mine: hometown, college, Navy, previous marriages, vacation travel.

However, the catching up is usually one-sided. In recent years I've been too busy, too disorganized, too tired from a just-completed petition drive or campaign. Often I'd have misplaced my address book so would have to wait for cards that contained, with any luck, return addresses. Then I'd mail a return card with a quick note, "still alive, catch you next year."

But that was then, before I Got A Life. This year, my friends will get news too.

There's this bumper sticker on the door of the State House press. It reads, "Barbara Anderson, Get a Real Job." The reporters got it from some tax-cut opponents years ago.

I always liked that bumper sticker. However, a Real Job was what I had. What I needed to Get was A Life.

Don't misunderstand. The Job was great fun. Work was play and weeks, months, years went by in happy political activism: lobbying followed by petition drive, court challenge, ballot campaign. Breakfast meetings, luncheon speeches, dinner debates; weekends collecting signatures at the mall, vacations usually planned around taxpayer conferences. Most local friends, also activists; most parties, campaign events. Radio tuned to talk, television to legislative session or C-Span, computer always on. Newspapers read first thing each day, e-mail last thing at night.

And then, partly because of voter apathy, our petition to roll back the income tax rate didn't make the 1998 ballot, and I was born again.

It was May; the lilacs were in bloom and I took time to pick some, while writing "stop and smell the roses" in my appointment book for June. Then I checked my list of things I'd always wanted to do, but never had time for doing, and shared it with my equally born-again partner Chip Ford.

Our vacation began at the International Taxpayers Conference in Vancouver, but it continued in Hawaii; we spent the rest of the summer weekends maintaining our tans. We were downtown for the Arts Festival and at a Red Sox game for an inside-the-park home run. In September, we went to King Richard's Faire.

In the evenings after work, novels were read, first-run movies were seen, television series were discovered. The screened front porch was occupied daily. Lunch dates with friends were planned and kept. Invitations to cook-outs were accepted, just for fun.

We had a yard sale. The house got cleaned and organized. The address book was found.

We made time for family. When fall foliage peaked, my son and his wife met us met in western Pennsylvania for my mother's birthday; Chip and I returned in time for a hotel birthday party for his dad.

We still work full-time, but we closed the Boston office, saving two hours a day of commuting, and several light years of aggravation. I still read the papers, but get to the comics section as well as the opinions section, and laugh at everything that's funny. A music station sometimes replaces talk radio. When it's time to watch the sunset, the computer screen gets turned off awhile.

Speaking engagements are still accepted, if the person who calls can prove he's not an apathetic voter. I no longer waste time on apathetic voters. Life is too short. Let those who care, make the rules.

We still intend to change the world, and I at least have begun with my own. Someone else can be always on call to balance the left-wing radicals; I'm tired of having to perch on the far-edge of the see-saw because so many other people sit in the middle. The truth is, I'd be a moderate myself if the Left would just leave us alone with our moderation instead of forcing us to pay for their extremism.

What part of "you do your thing and I'll do my thing" don't Liberals understand? Go, and steal no more. Spend your own money on "social justice." Forgive your pathetic president yourself. Lie if you must, but don't insist that everyone does. Everyone is not like you. Leave me alone.

Last month, I visited the Enchanted Village in Boston for the first time. After twenty-seven Christmases in Massachusetts, I'm finally going to see The Nutcracker. And I'm going to write a newsletter to all my friends around the world, telling them about the Life I Got this year. Happy holidays to all!

Barbara Anderson is co-director of Citizens for Limited Taxation and Government. Her bi-weekly column is syndicated and appears in the (Quincy) Patriot Ledger, (Salem) Evening News, (Attleboro) Sun-Chronicle and the (Worcester) Telegram-Gazette.

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