Wedges, Splitting Logs, and The U.S. Government


I keep hearing the same old tired platitudes from our congress and executive branch. I wonder when was the last time you heard something that was really new? Can You remember when something truly new was proposed other than a knee jerk reaction piece of legislation passed because something happened once and was so horrific or wonderful that every politician in the land wanted to be on the right side of the issue. Now we most often hear about “No budget Cuts” and “save the children,” from one side and ‘No new Taxes” and “save our country,” from another. I am haunted by the question, is this government or a nasty divorce settlement? A settlement in which nasty experienced divorce lawyers, in a take no prisoners battle fight not necessarily for justice but to inflict maximum damage on the other party. A divorce battle where the U.S. public finds itself playing the part of the confused and eventually, or already, damaged child of the hell-bent, self-centered, all or nothing, attitudes of the combatants.
The debate has degraded into a pissing contest about who caused it rather than about who can fix it. I expect a politician any day now to start quoting PeeWee Herman’s, “I know you are but what am I.” Have you heard any politician mention a permanent fix in the last six months other than ideas that cannot and will not be implemented because of ideological differences in our congress and executive branch? Do they listen and implement the ideas produced by their own selected bi-partisan committees? Have your heard any real new ideas from our government or simply comments that would be more appropriate for 6 year olds, i.e. “ don’t touch that it’s mine.” Has our society become so paralyzed by the concept of wedge issues that we cannot see that our survival as a society depends not on the wedge issues but the use of the wedge itself?
It is pretty hard to start a fire under anything with large, heavy, un-split wood. In order to make a fire large pieces of wood must be broken up into smaller ones. Large ones will simply sit there and smolder giving of little heat and no light. Once the fire is started using smaller pieces, larger pieces can be added but until the fire begins burning we must limit our choices to pieces the fire can handle. The last 5 years or so have been filled with smoldering logs that only frustrate the public’s desires for heat and warmth. Can our government officials for a moment forget how they got to Washington and remember what their job is, long enough to use the political wedges they have in their hands to make a real purposeful fire or will we continue to suffer the indignity of watching our axe men ( government) spend all of their time trying to get the wedge exactly where they want it on the log and then even when they do find a good spot tapping it a few times with a tacking hammer, never getting it driven in completely or worse yet breaking the handle off their tool with a misaimed sledge-hammer blow. If you have ever split logs before, you know that if you have a large log that has never been properly cured it is very difficult to split it down the middle but smaller pieces can be split off the edges. You also know that if you take bigger swings in an effort to accomplish much quickly, the chances of mishaps become larger resulting in missing body parts or broken tools.
Our government is as a large fibrous hardwood log , there is lots of value there but our politicians keep trying to split it right down the middle with light taps or huge swings, as a result the tools they use simply get stuck, bounce off or break, often doing more damage than good. Is it too much to hope that they might see that If both sides would set the wedge a significant bit off-center, even if one party got some more wood some times that progress would be made and perhaps just perhaps some positive quid pro quo might once again walk the halls of government.
It isn’t really a matter of money or entitlements, religion or children, education or socialization it is a matter of maturity and our elected officials are being held prisoner like some hormone driven teenager because they are more concerned about what their base thinks of what they do instead of what should be done. It is time that the politicians get the cart back where it belongs behind the horse.
They were elected to govern not to govern in such a way as to get re-elected.
I have had Odyssey of the Mind middle school teams that could do a much better job of solving these issues than our current government officials. Primarily because they learned to define the problem as a team and then solve it as a team working together as a team, sometimes even when they didn’t even like each other that much. It is wondrous thing when you see a team come together to reach a goal, I hope I will live to see the day when our executive branch and congress once again re-learn how to define a common goal and work together as a team to reach it.

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About safrisri

I was a school teacher until retirement. I have taught at all educational levels from pre-school to college. My college degree is general science which I arrived at after 5 years and 5 different majors. A degree as it turns out, almost as valuable and in demand as one in Neo-Bulgarian Mythology. I have been around education for around 40 years and can remember when teaching was a pleasant, happy and creative job and our schools were the same. Now I'm the guy sitting on the porch with an opinion on everything.
This entry was posted in Creative Problem Solving, National Debt, politics, Society, The Future, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Wedges, Splitting Logs, and The U.S. Government

  1. Wendy Prigge says:

    This is so entirely right-on. I love your analogy comparing the politicians to log splitters. I believe a lot of citizens agree with your perspective. Unfortunately, the field of people willing to run for office doesn’t seem to include very many really smart people. This is where you points about providing support for gifted students might intersect with the need for better quality elected officials.

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