Much has been made about the new “Blogger Tax” that Philadelphia has put in place recently. Many people have stated how this tax is malicious in the fact that typically this tax is taking 6x’s the amount of money that any person has made from their individual blog. What’s also been said is how this is just another way to show how a city that is incapable of creating anything even remotely looking like a balanced budget is just trying to figure out how to shake more money loose from people’s pockets, just like a bully in your old school yard from when we were kids.
What most people are not recognizing though is that this isn’t about money. This isn’t about taxes. This isn’t about trying to balance a budget or receiving the proper tax money that the city feels entitled and owed. This is about control.
Anyone that has ever experienced the wrath of a bully, like myself (I mean seriously people…how could I not with a name like Ian), knows that the point of what a bully is doing to you has nothing to do with your lunch money, or wanting to really hear you scream Uncle when your arm is wrenched behind your back, or calls you names in front of the whole school to make people laugh at you. The whole point of what a bully does is to make you dance to their tune and do as he says. He wants to flex his muscles and hurt you because he can, and because it gives him power over someone that he believes is weak or powerless to stop them. Control. “I can make you do what I want and there’s nothing you can do to stop me!” That’s the credo and mantra of the bully clan, and Philadelphia just showed its true colors.
When you decide that the voice of another person is somehow subjected to an erroneous and outrageous fee on their thoughts and words, you’re doing this not to collect the maybe couple of thousands of dollars that a city could make from such a tax, but to specifically target those individuals that have the courage to make their voices heard and speak against the wrongs of an out-of-control government. It doesn’t matter what side of the aisle that the voice speaks from, the point is to shut them up or make them pay. What do you think is the likelihood that a stay-at-home mom with no extra income, and certainly none made from her blog, is going to do when the city comes along and tells her that you need to pay us $300 right now or cease and desist speaking your mind. She’s going to stop speaking her mind, and the bully will have won. This is the government version of “Gimme your lunch money or I will punch you in the face!”
Whether this is a local borough, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the US Federal government, the City of Philadelphia, or a big dumb jerk in the playground, a bully is still a bully.
In my younger days, when I was a small, four-eyed, scrawny little kid, I was at the mercy of these types of bullies at first. Mine was a boy by the name of Scott. After a while though, there’s only so much pain, fear, and teasing a boy can take. It wasn’t until I stood up to Scott one day on a spring morning in 4th-grade and fought back that the teasing stopped. Sure I lost that fight, after all he was bigger and stronger than me, but it was from that moment forward that the veil of fear was lifted from him and everyone saw that even a little pipsqueak like me could make a bully bleed. Once that happens, a bully becomes nothing. A bully becomes something to have contempt and pity for, not fear.
This is Philadelphia’s version of the bully wrenching your arm and telling you to scream Uncle. We need to stand against this intimidation, all of us who write on the web and have people who read us. We need to focus our attention on the City of Brotherly Love, like that fits right now or has for years, and verbally punch the bully in the face and make him bleed. Once that happens, he will lose all the power of a mean boy on the playground and become what he really is, a pitiful child with no self-control and something that we “Little Pipsqueak’s” should not tolerate any longer.