It’s been said that the people get the government they deserve. If this is true then it seems to me that we either collectively do not have a high opinion of ourselves, or that we have a dangerous ambivalence about our government.
Last week’s blog put you into the role of a principal shareholder in a “hypothetical” international organization, empowered to decide if the interim CEO should be reappointed or replaced. This week’s assignment is more difficult – make some decisions by interviewing your mirror.
Here are a few questions to get your interview started:
- What do you expect from government?
- Are you expecting too much, or demanding too little?
- What is your responsibility for insisting on better government?
Your mirror may uncover troubling reflections. For instance, do you complain more about government than take an active role in staying informed, or even voting? Have you swallowed so much pandering kool-aid that you’re now gagging on political castor oil? Do you even believe that the right leader can still emerge at the right time to get the Country back on track?
So if the government we are getting is what we really deserve:
- What does it say about We the people if a candidate for Senate, who has misrepresented her ethnic background to take advantage of inapplicable affirmative action laws, is nominated for Senate, and possibly elected? Is this OK or do we not deserve elected officials with personal integrity?
- Is it also OK for the Vice President of the United States to tell a primarily black audience that that Republicans want to put “y’all back in chains”? Is this what we deserve, or is this an embarrassing insult to all of us?
- Do we deserve the Senate President gratuitously saying that Mitt Romney had paid no income taxes for 10 years, based on an anonymous “word” and no proof? Don’t we deserve government officials with greater nobility?
- Or, which is the larger outrage, that the Democrats ran an ad claiming that Romney was responsible for the death of a man’s wife even if the charges were untrue, or that the President has not denounced it, or that his wife is repeating it? Whatever happened to a sense of dignity or shame?
- Is it OK to make a bigger deal out of Romney’s past income tax filings than Obama’s refusal to release his college records? I mean, if we really want openness, let’s open up everything from everyone – don’t we deserve this?
- And do we deserve to hear the utter nonsense from the Obama campaign that someone as accomplished as Romney is a felon for what he did or did not do as CEO of Bain Capital, any more than we deserve to hear 16 reasons why Obama was not born in the United States?
- Is it acceptable for Paul Ryan to be demonized and depicted as pushing Granny over a cliff while presenting a potential plan to solve the problem of Medicare bankruptcy? Didn’t this used to be called leadership? At some point we actually believed that we deserved leadership, and even admired it.
- Are you OK with the idea that half of us pay no income tax, that our borders are not protected, that we have mortgaged the Country’s future to China, that the White House leaks national security information to falsely enlarge the President, or that the Democrat Senate has not put forward a budget in over three years? These are the fundamentals of governance. Don’t we deserve better?
- Is it acceptable that not a day goes by when we are not hearing about class warfare, or a war on religion, or a war on gun owners, or a war on women or successful small business owners who apparently do not build their own businesses? Do we deserve to be sliced and diced and segmented and categorized and divided, then sub-divided into groups, and labeled hyphenated Americans? Is this the America we know? Is this the new normal that we must accept or deserve?
- Are you OK with the sense that as our problems look bigger and our futures look darker, our Presidents look smaller? Do our diminished Presidents diminish us? Is this what we deserve, or is this what we have permitted?
So here we are, living with the government we deserve, learning this eternal truth, “When you stand next to an outhouse long enough, the smells become indiscernible.” If you think that we deserve more and better from government, how much responsibility, as an enabler are you willing to accept?
This is admittedly coming from a Republican’s perspective, so I expect to receive a few comments from the other side. If so, go for it, but it will just affirm the larger point that we all understand - we are not where we should be as a Country. We have become less when we need to be much more. We must all do better!
… And fast!
And, that is exactly why you must talk to your mirror.
What do we deserve from government? There are 80 days to decide.
What is your mirror telling you?