OPINION COLUMNS

Government is not the genius of America

By Bob Buckel | Published Wednesday, October 9, 2013

{{{*}}}The United States government is a quarrelling, bickering, name-calling, divided, dysfunctional family.

Dare I remind you that we elected them?

It’s true. Those 100 senators, 435 House members, president and vice-president are all there because we put them there. Sitting back and criticizing their behavior is like parents sitting on a park bench watching their children play.

“Look at those kids!” one mother will say. “I never saw such awful behavior! The little heathens!”

“Whose kids are those, anyway?” another mom asks.

“Oh, they’re mine,” the first one admits.

Why is it we vilify Congress and government as a whole but continue to re-elect our own representatives year-in and year-out? We love our Congressman (or woman) – it’s just Congress as a whole (or, a hole) that we can’t stand.

But for those who think our government is at its lowest level ever, let me also remind you that the country split apart and the two sides went to war back in the 1860s. As bad as things are now, we’re not there yet.

And indeed, a truly democratic form of government has never been easy, or particularly pretty. The Greeks debated constantly, and Julius Ceasar got knifed on the floor of the Senate in ancient Rome.

Ever listen to a session of the House of Commons in stolid, stodgy Great Britain? Texans behave better at football games. It’s all yelling, shouting, interrupting – even with British accents, it sounds crass and crude.

Our own representatives generally do their yelling in the back rooms and committee chambers, then they come out and stand in the hallway to give sound bytes to the TV news people about how everyone except them is being so unreasonable.

It’s a mess – enough to discourage even the most patriotic American. Indeed, the actions of our leaders have made many, many of our citizens either bitter and angry and frustrated, or sent them into don’t-vote-don’t-care full-blown apathy.

Both reactions are completely understandable, and a shame.

But let me also remind you (and myself) that the government is not America. We are.

In spite of all that’s out of whack, there’s a lot that’s right about this country.

I’ve been privileged over the past few years to have some long conversations with a friend who didn’t grow up here and didn’t think our form of government made any sense.

But America the Beautiful – it made a lot of sense.

“The wisest thing you ever did was make it one country,” he said. His favorite president was Lincoln, who gave his life to keep it together.

Because America, united, is the strongest country in the world, the most prosperous, the most free, the most difficult to threaten.

From one coast to the other, from Canada to Mexico, almost an entire continent is one country, with one language, one set of laws, interconnecting highways and waterways and railroads, one power grid.

Imagine, he said, if Africa was like that – or Europe, or Asia, or South America, or anywhere else in this world. Imagine the strength that would come from that kind of unity!

Americans don’t have to imagine it. We have it. It helps to remember that.

It might even help us do a better job of managing it.

Bob Buckel is executive editor of the Messenger.

One Response to “Government is not the genius of America”

  1. Rusty White says:

    Bob,
    Well said, and nothing but the truth. We might want to remind “some” that this President was elected “twice” by an overwhelming majority! This being a “fact”, who is this supposed majority all these politicians keep “claiming” they represent? They claim to speak for “all” Americans, really???

    While there are things I don’t agree with in the “AHC”, it has passed all the tests and hurdles, has it not? The first day over “3million” signed up with another “8million” trying and millions more still trying, fact!

    Still some claim the American people don’t want it, so do the numbers lie, or do they show who is “really” out of touch with the American people?

    We are the “only” industrialized nation on earth that does “not” provide free healthcare for it’s people, at least this is a first step! If “others” have a better plan “where is it”?

    It is a shame and a sin upon us all, when our elderly have to sell their homes, land and forfeit their life saving, just to get healthcare and/or elderly housing, is it not? If we took just “10%” of our tax dollars we give all the other countries in the world “every year”, every man, woman and child could have free healthcare, FACT!

    So instead of bickering and grandstanding over this issue, why not use “our own” tax dollars we give others to fix it???

    How a big a lie is it for those in office to claim they represent the common American, when the truth is “no common” American can even get in this “millionaires game”???

    WE DESERVE THE ABUSE WE ACCEPT “AND ELECT”!!!

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