"We Have Met The Enemy…"

Francis over at Eternity Road has a rather thought provoking post today on voting. The comments, as per usual, addressed the subject from a number of different angles. It also got me to thinking (gee, what a surprise).
There are any number of bloggers on both sides of the political fence who wonder what has gone wrong with this country and in particular with our government (‘specially the feds).
Those on the left see The Government ™ as the answer to all of life’s problems (with apologies to alcohol and Homer Simpson). Just give them enough money, control, and time. In return we will have the care we need from cradle to grave. Be it health care, education, insurance, some sort of pension, equality, diversity, along with a brighter smile and fresher smelling laundry. There will be controls on big business to conform to *standards* (and if that sounds vague it is because it is….the standards will change as often as Don Quixote’s dragons…with about as much substance in the form of hard science or facts as said dragons.) But we can trust em cause they either a) know better than we do; b)have our best interests at heart; or c) “It’s for the children” ™ . They attempt to appeal to ones emotions, feelings, or the child inside most folks, who still cries out at life’s perceived injustices; “It’s not fair!!”. They don’t want to be big brother, or even the parents we never had. They want to be the ones we should have had.
On the other hand (the right hand, of course), we have the conservatives. They don’t want to be your parents. They are the old time neighborhood beat cop. You need to have protection from all the evils of the world (and rightly so), and he or she is going to do just that. But they are also going to be sure you are not breaking the rules as well.
They come in various flavors:
There is the old timer who has been there for years. A good strong honest man…who knows some things are better off if he just looks the other way. When you meet your maker, you can answer to him for your offences, the old timer is more concerned about keeping the neighborhood safe, and seeing that the boat is not rocked too hard one way or another.
There is the firebrand. Now they are going to make sure that not only the neighborhood is safe but your soul is as well. They usually don’t last too long on the force…as they are usually found to have feet of clay before too long. And either retire to the family business, practice law, or have modest success as talk radio hosts in a mid market somewhere.
There is a new generation of patrolman currently on the scene. They are different from the others in they are not unwilling to address some of the parental concerns of the left while at the same time attempting to take out the local ponzi scam (which everyone knew about but turned a blind eye to). And due in large part to one gang which went on a rampage, they were going to attack with extreme prejudice…any and all thugs, gangs, and malcontents not only in the neighborhood but around the whole city, before the others followed in the first gangs footsteps. (Gasp, what is soooo hard to understand about preventive maintenance?)
And to be fair, we have others on this side who are on the take…and are looking out only for themselves…just as they exist on the left.
So there is a brief look at both sides. There are rascals aplenty on either side. There is wasteful spending, cronyism, egos the size of Texas, and power/control is the juice, most eventually get hooked on.
I can hear the screaming now…”That’s it! Get the pitchforks, the tar and feathers!’ Somebody GET A ROPE!!”
Well, in the words of that great equine philosopher, Quick Draw McGraw, “Now just hoooold on a minute thar Bubba Louie!”
The problem is not the pond scum in Washington DC (along with your state and or local governments)!! They are the result.
To quote another cartoon character (hey, I’m on a roll here) “We have met the enemy and he is us.” –Pogo
And this is where the good Curmudgeon’s post comes into play. For he generated a whole lot of discussion about what might be done to fine tune the voting franchise. And that is something which needs to be seriously addressed.
But I would go back a step or two from the voting process itself and take a hard look at the following:
1.What is causing such a poor turnout at the polls, be it for local elections, or national events. Even though the last presidential race produced over all higher numbers than have been seen in recent history, they still fall short of the kinds of numbers a country such as ours should produce.
2.Why are we not seeing a better cross section of the people in our elected offices? Specifically at the Congressional level? Why and how did it become the almost exclusive domain of either the rich or the lawyers (or often times one and the same)?
3.Why do we collectively bitch and moan at the quality of our leadership, when we were the ones who put them there in the first place? (And this is true for both sides.) On top of that we make it even harder for information to be introduced into the media (thanks McCain-Feingold). And then create more hoops to jump through to work around that which shouldn’t be there in the first place?
Other than I know “We The People” are the ultimate cause of the mess we are in right now, I don’t have the answers.
But ask yourself the following:
When was the last time you looked at the record of any given judge before either returning him to the bench or voting him (or her) in the first time? These are the ones who eventually have the greatest chance of moving up the judicial ladder (both good and bad). But at some point *most* of us had some input to them residing on a given bench.
When was the last time you participated in any sort of “grass roots effort” to seek change in your local, or state government (assuming you have some form of referendum or the like available where you are)?
When was the last time (if you have kids or are interested in the quality of your communities educational standards) you attended a meeting of the local school board?
The point I am trying to make here is, it may be alright to modify who may be part of the franchise. But if the electorate just doesn’t care, or isn’t willing to take part in seeking viable solutions to the concerns (or something close to them), then limiting or modifying those who can be part of the franchise…probably will not solve the problem.


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