Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Who's Leading & Who's Following?

Isn't freedom great?
Most of the time anyway.

The price of freedom has been described as eternal vigilance.
But, where is that vigilance when you need it?
Where is the vigilance in constantly and carefully overseeing the operation of critical financial institutions?
Where is it in anticipating serious problems before they arise, or at least shortly afterward?
And, where is it in providing accountability for protecting the public -all of the public- not just the privileged few?

I'm disappointed in Congress, again.
They just don't seem to get it that the reason they are in DC is to pay attention on behalf of this country's greater interest.
That adherence to party politics or personal agendas or belief systems aren't their primary function?

These are folks that have been used to finger pointing instead of the hard work of finding common ground.
They seem to think that someone else will take care of business, or maybe that business doesn't need taking care of in a 'free' market.
How did these people get elected?

Don't tell me, I know.
They got elected just like Council members do, and Mayors and such.
Only at levels that include more people and require more funding.
Kinda reminds you of a political Ponzi scheme, doesn't it?

There is certainly a place for populism, because at its essence it does reflect the wishes of the public.
But, are the public's expectations to be considered instantaneously, or as long-term needs?
Our founding Fathers set up our democracy as a representative one, not a direct one where everyone got a vote.
That's been changed over time, most notably to allow women, slaves and non-landowners to vote.
Those have been improvements that were needed, but which also have introduced some other dynamics.
As our country has grown and the issues have become more complex, our legislative process hasn't seemed able to keep pace.
Too often, we continue to revert back to simplistic formulas and ways of thinking that were more effective in simpler times.
Rather than trying to understand complex issues enough to allow serious contemplation of alternatives, our elected legislators are just as guilty of taking their direction from political allies, shock radio hosts and personal whims as we all are at times.

But, shouldn't we expect more of those we elect to represent us?
I'd like to think so.
I'd like these folks to start paying more attention to the serious programs, policies and problems they are to supposed to be responsible for, and less time in politicking to stay in office, or taking junkets paid for by lobbyists, or habitually working short weeks for whatever reason.

The recent 'bail-out' fiasco we've been treated to watch unfold is just the latest example of what concerns me.
Maybe our congress isn't yet convinced that the financial crisis is really a crisis?
If not, what would convince them?
Or, maybe congress would prefer more certainty that any given solution would actually work?
Maybe some members are so used to whining with impunity that they don't realize this situation is the real deal where no one gets to sit on the sideline and play the blame game.
And, maybe some are just seeking a way to become a hero so that can be parlayed into a higher office or some other advantage?

It's time to grow up children!
Get your butts back to DC and make some measurable progress that has a chance of helping solve this latest problem.
Cut out the whining and finger pointing long enough to pay attention to what is happening here and world-wide in our intertwined financial system.
You've provided enough entertainment to last us a while, now get back to work and don't come out until the job is done.
The public deserves nothing less!