April 2024
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Faith: Blind Intersections

Faith, they say, means believing what you can’t see. Some intersections require an act of faith.

My hometown was developed in tight quarters. In old parts of the town where I often drive, buildings squeeze next to sidewalks and limit sight-lines.

Most of the blind intersections have some type of traffic management, a stop sign or whatever, but people sometimes run stop signs.

So a motorist in the right steps on the gas, powers through and hopes no other vehicle appears from a route unseen to cause mayhem.

So far, so good.

Always, though, it pays to be wary.

America has now found itself at a blind intersection.

Without the benefit of fully seeing what dangers might lurk, we proceed apace, our wits and faith as our guide.

The election came and went Tuesday, and we awoke the next morning discovering the nation had its same problems and about the same people charged with finding solutions for them.

That is, the same people who stalled and bickered, bloviated and demagogued while critical matters of governance went begging got a new turn at bat.

My friend, a music historian, reminded me that *The Who* spoke to this issue in 1971.

“Meet the new boss,” the song said, “same as the old boss.” In effect, we voted for modified behavior. Look no further for national optimism.

Offered here is an embarrassing story of my more hotheaded days.

Younger and with a surplus supply of self-importance, I had an ongoing philosophical problem with a fellow worker. Our boss got his fill of our feud, brought us into a conference room and told us to not leave until we worked things out. Then, he left.

The two of us talked for five minutes about what a stupid bit of conflict resolution our boss had concocted. We talked for another 10 minutes about tricks we could use to stay out of each other’s way.

After 15 minutes, we walked out of the room knowing our jobs might depend on our next actions. Remarkably, things got better.

I don’t count myself so naive to think trillions of dollars in national debt can be reconciled with such a method. But there’s a lot to be said for shared time and bad consequences as motivators.

The group No Labels (slogan: “Stop Fighting, Start Fixing”) suggested that pay to members of Congress be suspended if they don’t pass a budget by the start of each fiscal year.

Interesting idea. Now, can you lock them in a room without it being an act of terror. Campaigning has a rich tradition of cliches. One is that a candidate, if elected, will “reach across the aisle,” to work in cooperation with members of the other party.

If this happened as often as it is promised, lawmakers would know the words to “Kumbaya” and get together for bipartisan popcorn on Redbox night.

My suggestion: Lower expectations. Say you’ll reach halfway across the aisle, an incentive for others to do the same.

The most moss-covered campaign line from incumbents is, “I work for you. You’re my boss.” As your boss, we have this guidance.

You have the job, and we have problems. Find a way to work with others and figure things out.

Stop complaining about everybody else gumming up the works. Stop saying the economy can’t grow because things are so uncertain.

You’re not potted plants. You’re in charge. Make things certain.

Have faith. We elected you as leaders. So lead.

1 comment to Faith: Blind Intersections

  • Kenneth R. Yeager

    A nice unbiased piece and God, I do wish things would/could change in Congress but I have my doubts. Now I am a born pessimist so my doubts are pretty strong that not much will change in the next two years….a very small maybe in the next four. I do think that falling off the “fiscal cliff” might do some good in proving to these inflated-ego folks that bad things can happen when they don’t do their job. And as one NYT editorialist wrote, if we do go off the cliff, it can be fixed and quickly. Something needs to be done. Each citizen over 18 only has one vote and while many can make a difference (we’ve just see that), once the jokers are voted into office, we, as voters, have little control until the next election. Plus most of us don’t have the money to buy our own Senator or Congressperson like some folks. I wish I had more faith in the process, but unfortunately, I lost that faith years ago.

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