And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from the Internal Revenue Service that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Penn was governor of Pennsylvania.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Steve also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Northampton, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the county and district of Northampton:) To be taxed with Kay his beloved wife, being great with patience. Well, not exactly biblical (with apologies to Luke), but this came to me upon having to go to Bethlehem to collect our tax documents from our accountant. There’s something biblical about living in the Lehigh Valley.
I don’t complain about having to pay taxes. I only wish far less of the money went to pay congressional salaries. And far less to the military. Otherwise, I realize that in order for infrastructure to be up-kept, for the many services that make life possible for so many people, those of us who earn enough—even if not exactly flush—owe something to the system. I’m saddened that the very wealthiest feel they’ve earned the privilege of not paying taxes. Modern-day Herods, I think, ready to kill babies in order to maintain personal power. Still, those of us who pay participate in the most basic kind of charity. So we make our annual trip to Bethlehem.
These days many people feel that if they don’t like other people they shouldn’t cooperate with them at all. Even finding out that a certain Trump has been defrauding the very government which he purported to lead, and has been doing so for many years, doesn’t dissuade some of them. I think our accountant, who looks gaunt and who doesn’t overcharge, could fairly claim a bit of back taxes that might be due. Community is an endangered concept. It’s a place where people support one another, and perhaps even care about others. When I logon to Nextdoor.com I’m distressed to see the trolling and inappropriate emojis that show up. The internet makes us all think we’re clever, ready with the snappy comeback. Even to a recent story about a dead homeless man found in a park. We need each other. Society can’t move ahead if everyone keeps everything to themselves. So it was we drove our rusty, four-cylinder donkey even unto Bethlehem.