4 Dec 2013
Adus F. Dorsey II
“Government is the hard work of creating a background order, but it is not the main substance of life. Government can set the stage, but it cannot be the play.” David Brooks The New York Times
It is rare that government ever gets much credit for good deeds, but in the over all scheme of things government seems to get all the blame for everything else. An example would be on the large scale the recent government shut down and the confusion that it caused. At the local governmental level it is the job of the government to provide essential services, i.e. safe and clean public drinking water as well as safe and clean public facilities. When these essential services are operating on all cylinders all is fine and good, but when the engine light comes on, all hell breaks loose. All of a sudden those with a sense of righteousness and belonging are the experts and the powers that be become incompetent, inexperienced and untrustworthy, all in one day.
On a good day government is actually boring and moves about as fast as an Alaskan iceberg. From afar the day-to-day goings on in local government hardly require much attention and take on the feel of a slow motion dream. Trash pick up, keeping the peace, promoting justice and providing essential services are not subjects that upscale dinner parties are made of, but they are hot topics that get discussed for hours on end when no on else is watching.
Noble and government are terms that hardly ever get used together in public, unless maybe you are the organizer for a political fundraiser, or a significant financial contributor to a politician that doesn’t understand the difference.
It is not the job of government to provide meaning to life, and to be completely cynical about politics is the luxury of the privileged. In the trenches is where the real work takes place and there is nothing cynical about it. It is sometimes a very dark and dingy place that the entitled do not feel comfortable in. Rather, it is a place where they send an emissary or only come to when they absolutely have to have something, or are intoxicated with delusions of grandeur.
There is a general consensus by some thinkers that there are two forms of over politicized individuals; the aspirational think politics can transform society, and the tribal believe that you should deal with people, or you have to deal with people coercively, by force. John F. Kennedy was considered to be aspirational, Joseph McCarthy, according to a loose interpretation by Freud, had issues with his Mother and was considered to be tribal in every sense of the word. History tells the story of both men and rare is the man that learns his lessons from history.
The problem with lofty aspirations from our government is that government rarely ever delivers the Golden Egg. In reality when government tries to assert itself there is often a backlash of monumental proportion from the sleeping giant, an assertion of his / her own, and like Joe McCarthy will make life as miserable as he / she can possibly make it for all who to refuse to sheepishly play by their personal ego driven rules.
As a gentle reminder and celebration of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, “Let us not forget that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth”. This single statement is so powerful that our country’s ideals of government are based on it.
There is a monumental divide between how local and national governments work, and it is as deep and wide as the Mariana Trench. Local governments tend to work on a volunteer honor system with honest hardworking individuals occupying the helm; local decisions tend to be steeped in tradition and are foundationally based on the future needs and desires of the community as a whole. Kind of like a garden fresh salad, good or bad, it is the sum of all of its parts and the proof is in the tasting. Nationally, our system of government operates on a different set of principles where elections are often decided by bank account balances, (theirs or the people who want something). Accountability is usually an after thought and more often than not occupies the backseat of the bus.
“Tyrants have always some slight shade of virtue; they support the laws before destroying them”
For people like Vanderbilt, Rockefeller, Carnegie, J.P. Morgan, and folks that marginally aspire to be like them, it is all about winning… and winning is all it is about. The smell of weakness and uncertainty, like the wolf in sheep’s clothing, is an opportunity to act with lightning speed, and the stench that is often left behind is for somebody else to mop up.
“Humans usually don’t want to hurt another human. It’s inefficient and dangerous. Whether the human seeks respect or fear or status or money, it is much easier and safer to scare someone into submission than to beat them into submission.” SGT RORY MILLER in Facing Violence.
As far as intimidation, it works well if you know how to use it. Legal intimidation: This may be the threat of a lawsuit or other legal action, an all time favorite intimidation tactic used by lawyers and people that do not want to get their hands dirty. Raising the stakes: Raising the stakes also raises tension and if you are going to use it you better be able to back it up. Emotional intimidation: Trying to intimidate by embarrassing or denigrating the other party. For some, emotional intimidation can be hard to watch, people puff up and yell and create a scene, making others uncomfortable, but for the most part it doesn’t work that well unless you are dealing with the uneducated, children or the elderly.
For the privileged wanting more privilege “It is cheaper to buy a politician than to be one”. AFD