December 27, 2009

Pogo Has It Right

As the year draws to a close, most pundits take stock of what the past year has wrought and push through that minefield with projections about what 2010 will bring.

Perhaps it's because we live in the Twitter and Facebook world of instant, if often banal, communications. Or is it that humankind is naturally inclined toward bad news such as the evils and pending catastrophes that seem to hem us in on all sides? Whatever the stimulus, we have little good news to lift our spirits in this middle time between old year and new.

What I find so terribly frustrating is the state of affairs in our Congress. We see little will or agreement on how to better our country. Instead, nearly everything undertaken in Washington, or at least as it is reported, seems spawned from the pit of politics and power. Winning the political battle overshadows the quest for the common good.

We seem to have traded the country's true need for leadership in very difficult times for the 'get me mine now' constituencies demanding to be accommodated so their votes in the next election will remain with the winners.

This is not how it should be.

Of course, politics and the art of compromise among competing ideas and views fuels our republic, but in today's political battle, the common good has been overtaken by mean-spirited rivalries. Government seems to be winning at the expense of the people.

The answer to this state of affairs lies in our souls and those of our leaders. We can establish rules about campaign finance, term limits and ethics, but until the substance and spirit of the individuals we elect is grounded in a different mindset and belief system, we deserve the leaders we elect.

Last century's swamp philosopher, Pogo, had it right: "We have met the enemy and he is us."
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