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We Are All Nevadans

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The next episode of that reality TV show known as The GOP Bumper-Car Presidential Campaign is this Saturday, February 4th -- the Nevada primary. So we have to ask: Is Nevada more like America?

They said Iowa was, but then it was too white. They said New Hampshire was, but then it was too Yankee. They said South Carolina was, but then it was too Southern. They said Florida was, but then it was too Hispanic -- or too Jewish.

Nevada's demographics are changing. Up until the economy hit the fan, it had undergone a tremendous population surge -- up tenfold in 50 years. A generation ago, they'd say you could take all the people in Nevada and put them in hotels in New York City. Today, you would need to clear everyone out of Brooklyn.

But Nevada is more like America. After all, just about every other state wants to be Nevada. For raising needed funds without raising taxes, state legislatures are answering the siren's call -- legalize gambling! It's morning in Gomorrah. Gambling, that's the answer. Let's turn the clock back so that the future is behind us. Let's escape from the rigors of responsibility and pretend we're living in the old wild west. Back when rules only existed for poker. Back when bullets settled everything. Back when men were young and dead and women were marms and tarts. Open casinos in every state and then you don't need more taxes. We are all Nevadans now.

What happens in Vegas goes everywhere. But wasn't there once talk about sin and degradation -- and gambling falling in there somewhere? Or was that just a subtext in The Music Man? How can gambling be sweeping the nation, a nation of evangelicals and fundamentalists?

Oh, that's right -- they're not paying attention because they're too busy voting for Newt Gingrich. Does anyone do the research? Does anyone understand the full effects of legalized gambling? Are states really going to be supporting themselves with casinos? Show me positive results and I'll drink my sarsaparilla in silence. Maybe gambling is just the Native American way of retaliation.

The casino gods must be vengeful. Gambling has only helped to destroy people along with the moral fabric of the country. Gambling puts people in debt, breaks human spirits and creates more problems for our courts and medical profession. I'm betting more addictive gamblers enter our healthcare system than folks suffering from the burdens of taxation. Gambling does not keep a state financially afloat, it sinks it.

But, of course, mostly we hear the word gaming, not gambling. Gaming makes it sound better, makes it sound almost moral or idyllic, like it involves elks and pheasants frolicking peacefully on grassy green meadows. They'd be gamboling, not gambling. It's like picturing yourself rolling dice in slow motion on some velvety green table in some elegant country club.

In my state -- the Commonwealth of Massachusetts -- they recently outlawed dog racing because they decided this betting sport was harmful to the health of dogs. So now we're going to have casinos because who cares if people get ruined? It's their own damn fault.

Just ask any libertarian! Taxation is more destructive anyway. Isn't that the message? Why pay taxes? It only encourages the bastards. Why have a federal government that just interferes with your life and spends your money? Look at Greece. Up to their ears in debt and unemployment and they're still getting by.

Let's just spend what we already have. And if we've already done that, then let's wait for all that corporate goodness to trickle down. Should I get an umbrella yet? Taxes are so September 10th. Like ethics and credibility. Like regulation. Like enforcement of regulation.

So, if we can opt for gambling to get us out of our tax problem, what will we use to alter our perception of unemployment?

Wait, I have it. How about more reality TV? That's as addictive as gambling. How about a game show where the jobless come to compete for the one great job unfilled in each city? It can be hosted by Donald Trump. We can call it American Idle.

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