Some of you may be wondering why I haven't yet commented on the recent shut down of the U.S. Government and the near debt ceiling debacle. To tell the truth, I've been wanting to talk about it, I mean, I've talked to myself about it endlessly, ranted about it in the car while driving, screamed about it, shouted, cursed, all of that. But privately, you know. And the reason is not because I fear I will offend any Republicans who still shop at the bookstore-there are a few, I'm sure, who do, and I applaud them all for their courage and fair-mindedness-no, the reason I've said nothing thus far is because there's some part of me that just doesn't like to pile on.
Other folks have been hammering the GOP and their mad Tea Party contingent so hard, and with such righteousness and glee that whatever scornful words I could come up would just be more froth on the cappuccino, you know. Let's stipulate that they deserved it, okay. But who needs it? And what good would it do?
My hope, of course, is that those elected to high office have learned a valuable lesson-that even if, as Ronald Reagan used to say, government is the problem, no government at all is an even worse problem, an unthinkable calamity, and so perhaps we'd better rewrite the first notion. I would put it this way: since government can sometimes be inefficient, i.e., a problem, what we want is a smart government, a government that tries to solve problems, not sit on its hands, a government that cares about all its citizens, or at least a government that seeks the greatest good for the greatest number.
Republicans could sign onto this idea; it wouldn't be too large a leap. They would not have to abandon their private God or even their reluctance to pay taxes. The only thing they'd have to do is relax long enough to trust that President Obama is not the enemy, that their Democratic colleagues also want a prosperous and successful country, that while change is inevitable, it isn't necessarily a bad thing, and if we work together it can be managed intelligently, and for the benefit of everyone. That's what public service is about, after all. That's why we still bother to vote.