If you are one of those people in our government who believes that a large proportion of the American people are not interested in politics, then you are probably correct. A fair number of citizens just want to live their lives, have fun sometimes, earn money sometimes, and enjoy their families and what life has to offer. There is certainly nothing wrong with this. A government that ticks along and works fairly well should provide space for work and for the enjoyment of the fruits of one’s labors.
People want a house and a car. They want a happy life for their offspring. They want their offspring to be able to afford a house and a car. They want a boat, or recreational vehicles, and/or perhaps a summer camp; or they want to travel both in America and abroad. They want to invite friends over and celebrate life’s occasions and share dinners or barbecues or picnics. They want to give gifts to people they love and they want to share the pleasure that comes from giving. Football, baseball, and basketball are very popular spectator sports in America and for enjoying sports we need big, big screen TVs, some friends, some food and drinks. Some Americans may want to worship at a church and they may want to contribute to the community in some organized fashion or by giving money to charities. They want to control their weight if possible and get some exercise if they have time. They want to be healthy. They want lights and heat and air conditioning.
Fun-loving Americans do not want to have to ride herd on the people they elect to Congress. America has a document that states the rules and they expect those who govern us to follow the rules. They pay you to govern in their name and they tell you what laws they want you to make by choosing a member of a particular political party to elect. They do not expect the party of their choice to represent only certain people who voted for them. They expect the party to find some way to choose reasonable compromises for all of their constituents in the event that they don’t all agree. They don’t really like politicians and they don’t really trust them but as long as government doesn’t start getting really “hinky” or scary they pretty much let those who govern us take care of themselves.
Sometimes, and by that I mean in times like these, I wish the people who “just want to have fun” were paying a bit more attention. Events are moving pretty fast and there are some pretty strange things going on in Washington that we need to tune into and keep an eye on. A lot of issues have been spilled in the last few weeks. Is it time to look at the role of the IRS in the lives of Americans? Is it time to look at the issues of whistle blowing vs. leaking and to make some decisions about how the American people want to deal with these issues? Is it time, now that the war on terrorism is temporarily winding down, but terrorist activity has not been eradicated, to make new decisions about safety vs. privacy or are we still willing to allow the surveillance activities to continue? If we let these activities continue will be able to curtail them at a later date? Do we need to change that filibuster rule so that some votes don’t require a super-majority? Are we in favor of the Immigration Bill that was written by the Gang of Eight? Are we going to let a political party bypass the Constitution so that they can win the next election whether the majority of Americans want them to or not?
These are key days in America. We are being distracted by lots of issues that have nothing to do with our key agenda item which is to adopt policies that lead to jobs that provide the high pay and security our old jobs used to provide. Where are the jobs? Why isn’t Congress concentrating on the jobs? Will making government smaller and ending social safety net programs bring those “good” jobs back? Maybe we need to play a little less for a brief period of time and insist that government work on job creation a bit more. Let’s see if we can get Washington’s attention.
This is the view from the cheap seats.