Rants and Raves

Opinion, commentary, reviews of books, movies, cultural trends, and raising kids in this day and age.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The problem is, we really do live in a democracy

Note: This first appeared as an op-ed in the Valley City Times-Record. I saved it here, and took my family to Mt. Rushmore and Crazy Horse Mountain for the Labor Day Weekend.

While I was distracted, John McCain chose Sarah Palin, a real-live budget cutter, as his running mate. Palin has made encouraging noises, backed by action. about getting the state of Alaska off the federal teat.

So whaddaya think folks?

I'm still skeptical. A small state like Alaska, or a small country like the Czech Republic, has a lot less momentum than a country of 300,000,000 that hasn't yet bottomed out to the point where the economy has to be fixed.

But we shall most assuredly see.

“Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”
George Santayana

“It's not that history repeats itself, it's that sometimes she screams, “Won't you ever listen to what I'm trying to tell you?” and lets fly with a club.”
John W. Campbell

The longest election cycle in the history of democracy is finally entering the home stretch. Thank heaven, just a little longer and all this will be over. One side will be ecstatic, and another convinced the world is coming to an end.

Then one faction will have four years of steadily growing disappointment, and another will have the satisfaction of being able to blame an irredeemably evil (or stupid, if you're charitable) individual for all the woes of the nation, and much of the woe of the rest of the world.

And I will have the grim satisfaction any pessimist gets from being the perennial wet blanket.

Every American of voting age knows there is a list of problems we have to, as in HAVE TO, deal with sometime, and sooner rather than later.

The problems include: the solvency of Social Security, health care costs, education, welfare, infrastructure maintenance and repair, and modernization and restructuring of the military to meet emerging threats.

In four years, few of these problems are likely to get significantly better. We'll be doing good if we manage to hold the line on most of them. More likely, most or all of them will be worse, no matter who gets elected.

The fact is, our ability to deal with all of these problems is compromised by a massive, and growing, national debt, caused by out of control government spending.

We know if government spending is not controlled, eventually all the other issues candidates argue about will be moot.

Government spending is not going to be controlled, not by either party.

Honest men and women regularly get elected, determined to do something about pork barrel spending. Of course, to do anything about the problem you have to get elected in the first place, and re-elected regularly thereafter.

To get elected, you have to bring home the bacon to your constituents.

Of course, you could buy votes in your own district, and vote against pork in everyone else's. But practically speaking, you have to trade votes, “I'll vote for your pork if you'll vote for mine.”

Anybody see a way around this?

Anybody want to step up and campaign on the slogan, “I'll give up my district's pork first”?

We're always ready to condemn the other guy feeding at the government trough. But in a democracy, everybody is somebody else's other guy.

The problem is, we really do live in a democracy, and the government really does listen to the voice of the people.

And we the people want our pork.

Excuse me, “our fair share.”


Post a Comment

<< Home