Jerry is a retired high-school Government teacher residing in San Diego County, California.
The Thot Plickens
So, California billionaire Tom Steyer has decided to join the billboard of candidates running for President on the Democratic Party ticket. “I am not an insider. Look at the top four Democratic candidates. They have between them 70 years in Congress. That is the definition of an insider. If we are going to change, it will be a different way. It must be from the grass roots.” Cliches aside, his experience, his achievements, have come exclusively from the world of entrepreneurial finance. The CEO (and owner) of a Fortune 500 is the very definition of an autocrat.
One of the most egregious myths provided by historical example is the notion that dictatorships are, at least, efficient! “Mussolini made the trains run on time.” That may be true . . . but at what cost? In a large, stratified system of government overseen by an autocrat it is virtually impossible to find innovation or risk at any level. Managers, section chiefs and worker bees are all keenly protective of their station. Few will risk contradicting the status quo when making the wrong move could cost them their job (or in pre-war Italy, their life).
Like a complex spider web, our government is massive and filled with a thousand institutional structures each with a culture and personality of its own. Naively pluck a strand at one end and you have no idea what the reverberations may invite at the other. Only knowledge and experience can have a good chance of avoiding undesirable consequences.
There is very little wrong with our governmental system save for the folks that are in charge of it. No one can deny that the glaring stasis confronting the U.S. Congress is not the way it is supposed to be. Nor can anyone argue that this is the way it has always been.
“Toute nation a le gouvernement qu'elle mérite.” “Every nation has the government that it deserves.” Varieties of this little bit of wisdom have been credited to everyone from Adams & Jefferson to Lincoln, Mark Twain and FDR. Actually, it was said by a French revolutionary figure named Joseph DeMastre. It is in any case quite true. One cannot blame Donald Trump for being Donald Trump. That is who he said he was while running for office. That we cringe from day to day at his inept and shallow performance on the world stage may rightfully be laid at the feet of those who not only voted for him but continue to support him.
Arguably, our government could, with a decent tune-up, again run efficiently if not according to every political disposition. We should respect, and want, 70 years of government experience. Who better to fix, to adjust, to realign the gears and levers of power than someone who understands them? We’ve now seen almost three years of an amateur at the helm (his personal quirks notwithstanding), and he has proved not only lacking but an active negative agent.
Would it not be better to have someone who knows where all the bodies are buried—and how they got there—than one who has to start from scratch? That may sound like “end of the bar wisdom" but my vote will go to someone who does not have to ask which door to go through or where the rest rooms are.
Our children are the living messages we send to a future we will never see.