I think I have just summarized the Preamble to the Constitution of These Untied States
I happened yesterday to be walking across the schoolyard while it was filled with about a hundred little kids. There were balls of all kinds flying through the air, and little boys of various sizes running all over the place kicking them and each other in pursuit of the balls…or each other. There were girls there, too. Some of them walked quietly about in twos and threes; probably talking about dolls, or who they would trap into being husbands in several years. Other girls gathered and screamed, and a few ran around with or after the boys.
As I passed through a knot of eight years old boys I heard one tell another, “You’re not the boss of me!” This group of boys seemed to be engaged in a kind of game which resembled soccer in the same way that the formless soup of coalescing matter in the first nano-seconds after the big bang resembles the universe today.
There was among them nothing agreed upon, no rules, no positions, no referees, no boundaries, and no one, it seemed who thought it might be better for everyone if some kind of order was imposed, if someone, or some group said to them, “OK, boys, from now on the stoop is out of bounds, only one guy at a time kicks the ball, and no punching each other in the face. Five of us get at this end and the other five get at that end and try to move the ball past each other from our own end to the other guys’ end. Every ten minutes we take a blow, and if someone goes down, no stepping on him. Everyone gets to say if we want to play the game different and most hands changes the rules. No yelling. Sound good?”
I think I have just summarized the Constitution of these Untied States.
So, we have only ourselves to blame if the referees and rule makers shorten the field, allow too many players on one side and not enough on another or do away with the boundaries and say, “Hey, everyone, come over and play with our ball. No rules. No practice. Just fun. Plus, we give you lunch.” I think I know where you are thinking I will go with this. Well, I am not on my way there. This ain’t Arizona.
We have only ourselves to blame, too, if the referees gather together with the owners of the “Sky Boxes” in the stadium, and change the rules to accommodate their particular issues, allowing time outs during food service, or something as silly
I think I have just summarized much of what has been happening in most every state and local government, and down in the SOG, for the better part of a century.
One way to think about this is that it’s all about sales, you know. Consider what happens when you invite someone into your home after reading about a deal too good to pass up. You’re thinking that well, a new set of windows might just be the thing before winter sets in. So, they come, those guys who advertise new storm windows that will keep out the cold in the winter and the heat in the summer, and we never ask, “How DO the glass know?” We’ve already sold ourselves a deal based on a dream. We allowed these guys who promise us everything to start tearing out the windows, for one easy price. Soon, we see we need a new paint job, a new furnace…and go for the deal each time; finding ourselves as a result in debt up to our necks in a few years and with some bank in a place we never heard of that holds our mortgage foreclosing, because they need money like yesterday.
I think I have just described “progress”. I think I have also just described the current financial mess we are in, most of which happened because there was too much patty fingers between big deal rich guys and big deal pols who’d been in office for about a geologic age apiece, and knew all they needed to know. Remember the rich guys in the sky boxes and the referees?
Like Pogo might have said, we did it to us. Or, perhaps more accurately, we stood by and let them do it; after we had let them sell us the windows, and after we had let them talk us into believing (a) our old windows didn’t look nice, (b) everyone else has new windows on the next block so why not us at a price that may not/will not last and (c) they’re self-cleaning (a lie).
I think I have just described about every political campaign for the last seventy years. The point of all of these mixed metaphors, windows, ball games and little kids is this: Little kids do need some rules or games are not games at all. Comes a time when “plays well with others” becomes important for living. That means accepting the freedom and strength of being a grown up, but also accepting a lot of other things, too. But, there’s a long space between that and becoming used to the idea that “allows others to play for him” is a goal. When we allow ourselves to be convinced that that idea is the best for ourselves and everyone else we give up being a grown up. We don’t go back to the school yard. We go back to the crib.
And, about windows and all that? Well, that’s just a big serving of gluttony, greed, envy and sloth; with a little bit of lust, anger and pride mixed in and sauced over the top.. That’s the bargain we made in the garden long time ago. In that crib we won’t have blankies, bottles and regular diaper changes. Nah, it’ll be loans, and free this and thats and euthanasia some day.
I think I just described having our cake and eating it.
But that’s plain nuts because of the nature of cakes. You gotta have rules about that, recipes for making the cake batter, an oven and temperature directions for baking it, cake pans and what alls, dishes, knives and forks, tables, plates and napkins, and manners, lots of manners. And Mom to do the baking, and kids to do the cleaning up. And Dad to bring home the bacon to buy the flour, milk, sugar and shortning.
I think I have just described a society.
Without which we get either one of two things, what we are starting to grow in the backyard of every City Hall, State House and White House and Congress, here; or what we need, and what this place started with, just enough rules to make the game enjoyable and allow us to get the ball to the goal to the best of our ability.