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Saturday, October 30, 2010

Warnings from a Friend

Yesterday Mark my supervisor at work said that he thought it was no big deal that he and I can have remarkably different political views and still remain friends.  But, for us, we are not trying to control one another, he observed.  Since we are not movers and shakers in a political sense, our differences are not operative in our relationship.  I got to wondering, instead of being colleagues at work what if we were colleagues in the US Senate.  We would frequently be voting on issues against one another.  What would our relationship be like then?  I think of a football game.  Both teams respect one another but that does not make them any less earnest players when they get on the field.  Each side seriously wants to win.  Each side can earnestly play while respecting the rules of the game.  Dirty play (when fair play rules of the game are intentionally violated) occurs only when we become consumed with winning and lose respect for the rules of the game and for one another.  In other words, I think in Washington we could continue to hold different beliefs politically and work hard to implement our side of the issues while still respecting one another and even be cordial on a personal level.  But there would be few referees in the political game.  There would be no whistle blowers if we started sniping at one another and treating each other with a lack of respect.  In fact, there would sometimes be political incentives (cheers from the stands) if we did so.

Mark thinks government is too big, that taxes are too high, and that the national debt is out of control.  He is of the opinion that even when conservatives get in office, they tend to continue to grow government and the debt.  They say one thing, but when they get to Washington they do another. Mark holds the belief that government, rather than helping us cope with reality, panders to the public selling indulgencies (indulging our lack of discipline) to avoid dealing with reality.  To the extent that he is correct time is without question on his side.  Sooner or later, attempts to paper over basic realties certainly will fail.

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