It is kind of difficult not to get caught up in the debate surrounding the current government shutdown in this country. So, here’s what I think…and it’s probably not much different from what most average Americans think. Oh, by the way, I am an average American. I am married. I have one son and one daughter. I had to save over ten years before I could afford a down payment on a house. I worked for other people my entire life. I lived pretty much paycheck to paycheck. I bought cars that cost more than I should have spent and it took me three or more years to pay them off. Oh yeah, I have one dog and one cat. See, preeety preeety average.
I attempt to vote for the people who represent me in running the country. Most of the people I voted for, at least when they ran for office, were like me. They shared the same ideals, the same dreams, the same frustrations. Yep, I sent them off to Washington so they’d do the kinds of things I would do. Well, we all know how that works out.
Something happens to people when they take up government office space in Washington. Somehow—maybe it’s the asbestos in those old building—their thinking clogs up and they no longer process information like we common folk do. They begin circulating in their own little tight environment that encourages them to think along specific lines and disregard any opposing concept. Their relationship with their former average American life slowly dissipates into a misty vapor.
As unpatriotic as it may sound, I have decided one thing we need to do is to stop glorifying our founding fathers. We spend entirely too much time making reference to them and what they did. God bless them all—they did one hell of a job setting up the government. But…they are all dead now. They lived when there wasn’t such a thing as indoor plumbing, there wasn’t a light switch on the wall, there was no tap water, no motorized vehicles, no phones or TVs, no rovers on Mars and certainly the international tensions we face today did not exist once they kicked out the Brits. Times have changed. Our system doesn’t work right anymore. We need to “found” new ways to deal with our new ways.
This does not mean we abandon our system of government. We just have to develop new procedures that work better for us. Changes should be based on how we live now, not necessarily how our founding fathers thought we should live when they wrote the Constitution. True, principles are principles and they should last forever…but nothing is forever and that’s the first principle we need to newly adopt. I find it curious that many of the folks in Congress criticize the government for being too big and powerful, and yet, if they were to look inward they would realize the power they have accumulated is tremendous and the ways in which they manipulate it is horrendous.
Now remember, I said I was average. I don’t have any great guidance to offer regarding how we make our government more functional. But it’s time for a new Constitutional Convention. There must be alternatives that can be adopted that disallow the kinds of logjams and game-playing that our government gets itself into. Surely there are people in this country intelligent enough to figure it out—people who are in touch with reality and with you and me, and will stay that way. People who, like me, feel the shame that our current representatives have brought upon us and our country; people who will be this generation’s founding fathers…and mothers.