“The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.’” Ronald Reagan (1911 – 2004), 40th American President
This past week was a frustrating one for me as I watched our Chicken Littles in DC do their little dance, wring their hands & worry about the impending sequester. It was pathetic; they were practically wet their pants at the thought that future budget increases were going to be lowered by around 2%. That’s right folks: the sequester was not a real budget cut at all. It was merely a reduction in future planned increases. Only in Washington would the solution to a budget crisis not only NOT solve the budget crisis, but the spoiled brat teenagers that run the place whine that their planned dollar allowance increase was being shaved by 2 cents.
Nowhere was it mentioned that the American people had to weather their own personal budget cut when the payroll tax went up in January by 2%. Yet we managed. We reallocated resources, reprioritized, got creative; in other words, we came up with real solutions. Perhaps that is what is missing in all of this: so many elected officials are incapable of thinking outside of the box, outside of their comfort zone and outside of their party. Ordinary Americans function in reality, while those in DC function in an alternate universe. And unfortunately, whatever happens in their universe inevitably comes crashing down big time into ours. Reality bites. It bites even harder when a politician is involved.
As someone who is not afraid to ask questions in order to get to the bottom of a problem, I have a hard time understanding why some folks are offended when I do it. Don’t they want the problem solved? Don’t they want to know its cause in order to prevent it from happening again? Don’t they want to ensure that today’s solution doesn’t become tomorrow’s problem? Are they really content with the status quo of mediocrity, in the vein of “well, it could always be worse” mentality? What happened to the creative mind that was the American people, who didn’t see problems as things to be resigned to, but things to be resistant to? What became of the American spirit who heard after every “you can’t do that”, the inevitable challenge of “you just watch me”. Has this nation of winners devolved into a nation of whiners?
With the help of a very direct and outspoken friend (you know who you are), I came to realize that perhaps I may have been participating in the problem. By asking questions, exhorting for better change, challenging financial mismanagement, and criticizing the status quo, I may too have become a whiner, instead of rolling up my sleeves and becoming a doer. She challenged me to not just ask the questions, challenge the power structure, or fight the mediocrity, but to take the next step, the bolder step, and actually work to find a solution. What I was doing wasn’t working; those being asked the questions weren’t willing to change. I then realized that there was more to being right; you had to try to make it right.
So for the next few weeks I am going to explore ways on how we can solve some of the issues that seem to plague us, a burden so heavy that many Americans have just given up rather than fight the machine. It won’t be easy. I’m going to poke at some sacred cows. Some of my ideas may be outside of the box. Some may even make folks angry. Some may cause folks to be wary and confused, as I invite former adversaries to join me in the brainstorming. However, just try to see them as ideas, as something to leap from, where ordinary Americans can begin to get our creative juices flowing. The best solutions to problems have never come out of Washington or Des Moines, but out of the hearts of the American people. Government has tried to fix our problems; they failed. Not only that, they made them worse. It is our turn now to fix this mess. We are Americans. We can do it.
You just watch us.
“It is amazing how much you can accomplish when it doesn’t matter who gets the credit.” Harry S. Truman (1884-1972), America’s 33rd President