The right to be heard does not automatically include the right to be taken seriously
-- Al Gore (no fooling)
Dr Speedbump ON POLITICS
On this page, I give politics a few bytes -- if only because its such a big target.
Come Senators, Congressman, please heed the call
Don't stand in the doorway, don't block up the hall
For he who gets hurt will be he who has stalled
There's a battle outside and it ragin'
It'll soon shake your windows and rattle your walls
For the times they are a changin'
-- Bob Dylan
OK, so the battle ain't ragin' quite like it use to be. We should be thankful that the country is not constantly torn asunder like it was in the 60s
(1960s, 1860s and 1760s). But it's still a great song -- and some divisive issues just won't go away. Way back in 2000, a CNN commentator said, "Once they took it to the streets. Now they take it to their web sites." QED. Well, it's a new decade -- those of us who were in college are now retiring -- so it's back to the streets AND blog about it, too.
With some exceptions, the members of Congress are more concerned about keeping their jobs than they are about doing their jobs. They win or lose based on how ignorant the voters are. It appears that most are far more conscientious about their votes for "American Idol" or "Dancing with the Stars" than they are for the leaders of our country. Politicans manage to complicate whatever they touch. What do you expect from a perpetual convention of lawyers? I assume the adversarial approach justifies their existence and keeps them on stage, even if they accomplish nothing.
The bureaucratic lifers might feel a bit insecure, too -- even though they are impossible-to-fire and only need to fear suspension with pay if indicted for serial killing of nuns or orphans . When there's a snowstorm in DC (like 2 or 3 inches over 24 hours), "non-essential employees" are told not to report for work. Wouldn't you get yourself there through 4 feet of snow, rather than admit that you (not just your work) were non-essential?
OUR STATE GOVERNMENT
Men can measure the distance to the planets, track the erratic comet through unknown space and foretell its coming, but the doings of the New York State Legislature are past finding out. -- Seneca Ray Stoddard, 1874
It's been more than 130 years, but what could I possibly
add to that?
Be informed. Everyone is entitled to your opinion. Vote every election for the dog-catcher on up -- by qualifications -- not by party, nationality, popularity or hairstyle. You may not get what you want -- but, if you don't exercise your right and responsibility to vote, you will get what you deserve. In my opinion, you also forfeit your right to complain. Where ignorance prevails, as it does in many places much of the time, democracy is a serious threat to the effectiveness of a democratic government. Pogo nailed it, when he said "We have met the enemy and he is us."
CERTAIN INALIENABLE RIGHTS
"Is this a great country, or what?" That's a rhetorical question, of course -- so here's a rhetorical answer: "Damn right, it is."
The dual purpose of Government is (1) to perpetuate itself and (2) to protect us from ourselves. So, is freedom an illusion? Fortunately, the Government has been sufficiently ineffective that we still have the right (and the opportunity) to make many personal choices. Ineffectiveness, with occasional help from the Supreme Court, has been protecting our Constitutional Right to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. Note that we have no right to be happy -- only to try. There were no flies on our Founding Fathers.
But is there really a Right to Life? I'll save thaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat one for another page. (Woops, I nodded off for a moment. Really. I must be pretty boring.)
I'm am proud to live under the watchful eye of a government that affords us so much personal freedom -- where I (still) have the constitutional right to burn the symbol of our nation ... or to chose not to. In case you've been living in a tree, I'm talking about burning a flag, not a Bald Eagle. The bird is redundantly protected by Federal and State environmental regulations. Now there's yet another fine topic. Is somebody making a list?
TIME TO SHUT UP
I'll conclude with an immortal quote which epitomizes the tolerance that Americans have for opposing viewpoints:
"I disagree with what you say -- but I will defend to the death my right to tell you to shut up and listen, you ignorant puppet."