Democracy – Who said it had to be pretty.
Ok, so there is a lot of bad Ju-Ju out there about our country’s leadership in the executive and legislative branches. Certainly the popularity polls for politicians are dropping like flies encountering a can of full-strength Raid, ® but is it all that bad? Really?
When working toward my graduate degree at American University, I encountered some really wonderful professors and practitioners. Now, as a college teacher, I go back and reflect on a lot of the things learned there.
One of the best lessons learned was from a long-time bureaucrat whose name I forget. But, one day when I was lamenting the state of government and my work for said governmental agency, this adjunct lecturer and seasoned government type looked at me and said: “In a Democracy things are not supposed to be tidy and efficient. It’s through discourse, debate and downright fights do we get it right. It may take awhile, but at the end good government flows forth.”
I though about that for a moment and it did make some sense. Sure, I had been taken aback when traveling to Capital Hill and being told the $2 billion budget we were requesting was going to be $2.5 billion so several pork projects could be constructed. But, there was always rigorous debate and many times an outright fight over some new highway or needless wayside rest stop. But, in the end, most people were well served by both Congress and the Administration.
Today, however, much of the debate is centering on a simple problem. Government is spending more money that it’s taking in. Most of us with a checkbook and credit card know this issue well. However, if we overspend the Repo man cometh, and/or our credit rating number equals our age.
And to counter my college professor’s philosophy, it appears to me that heated debate and rhetoric will do little to make this budget debacle better. After all, it’s really tough to be disciplined when you are the one printing the money. If we did that, we’d end up in jail.