Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Tea or Coffee

      It’s no secret that people are dissatisfied with government – particularly the Federal government. Liberals are disappointed that Obama is not the great “across the aisle” leader who gets cooperation from everyone, thus making great populist strides possible. He reminds me of the Mugwumps of the late 19th century.
      The word Mugwumps is from Indian derivation to suggest that they were "sanctimonious" or "holier-than-thou." But during the presidential campaign of 1884 it received another connotation: A Mugwump sits on the fence with his mug on one side and his tail on the other. He just sits, and sits, and sits…
      Conservatives are also disappointed because Obama has tried to do too much. As a result, they have understandably dug in their heels, resulting in gridlock.
      This no progress approach has resulted in various grass roots activity, not the least of which is the so-called “tea party” movement. Tea party members are telling their representatives to cut taxes and reduce the government debt among other things, or else they will not be reelected. Their philosophy is that the government is their enemy, and they want to get it out of the way. Again, that’s completely understandable.
      Now there is a new movement brewing: the “coffee party.” This group starts from the belief that government is not our enemy, it is just dysfunctional. They are pledging to support those representatives who work together for the common good. Although in some cases their aims parallel those of the tea party, they are asking for cooperation instead of confrontation.
      Because much of the political maneuvering is aimed at core constituents with an eye to getting reelected, I have another suggestion. While it is neither new nor original, I believe it would be effective: term limits. If a representative knew he could serve only one or two terms, he could devote his time to doing what he knows is right instead of perpetual electioneering.
      I know about the argument that says only experience teaches one to govern, but it’s not working that way – it’s teaching one to perpetuate gridlock.
      Another alternative is to always vote against the incumbent, but that’s not going to happen.

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