Monday, November 21, 2011

Government Is the Problem?

So say the Reaganites, the Anarchists, the Culture Warriors, the Old South, the Ayn Randian Utopians, the Newtonian Amphibians, a lot of taxpayers (especially the wealthiest or wanna-be-ers), etc., etc., etc.

The funny thing is that it is an easy self-fulfilling political philosophy because if you do get a little authority in government, as one supposes, you can prove your thesis by acting incompetently. The last administration is pretty much the prime example. ("Heck of a job, Brownie" and "Mission accomplished" come to mind lest we forget.)

Now, even our current President is buying in at least to the point that he says "Congress is the problem." We'll see how that flies. I still think that he may be trying to restore some of the balance and responsibility to the constitutionally designated branch of government for the budget, taxes, and debt (Article I - the Legislative Branch, people). And of course, those are the people's representatives to the extent they're not bought up by all the corporate people.

The Debt Commission failed. Simpson-Bowles was ignored. Paul Ryan's plan was DOA. So was the President's jobs bill and his tax and deficit plans. No one in the tea party House or the Republican filibustered Senate will give the President the time of day. Fine. That's how the Constitution is set up. And it's not over yet.

Call me a lunatic, but I actually find it exciting that the question of the very essence of government is before us. Is it a tea party vision or that of the occupy movement? Neither one, I hope. But somewhere in the middle just might work as long as we the people can get some sense that we are all in this together and together we are the answer as we find our common ground.

We are not at war with each other and that need not ever be the case. We the people, all the people, are going to decide this. Nobody, especially the self-styled virtuous, has a monopoly on the right answers. Too bad the election is still a year away. But, the marketplace of ideas and court of public opinion remain open in the interim. The government cannot solve our problem until we realize that we are the government. As Walt Kelly so aptly twisted a phrase, "We have met the enemy and he is us." Let's engage with each other. It is no one's fault but our own and no one's responsibility but our own and each other's together. We can work it out. Stop pretending that we can't.

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