Monday, October 01, 2012

Double ought...


  Back at Millville Grade School, the best part of the day was usually recess, especially if the weather was nice enough that we were able to enjoy it outside. It’s not like we had a lot of expensive playground equipment, but we did have a couple of softball diamonds, although only one of them had a backstop and actual bases. The other one just had Summit Taylor’s fence for a backstop, and you had to kick a spot out in the grass with your heel to make the bases. Still, it was nice to get out of the building for a while.

  Whenever the 3rd and 4th grade teacher, Mrs. Gosspert, was in charge of monitoring us at recess, she always asked if we wanted to play softball or kickball, and when we shouted out our preference, she would somehow judge our response, and tell us which game we would be playing that day. Whenever it turned out that we were playing kickball, my old buddy Stinky Wilmont, who for some reason had a terrible aversion to kickball, would suggest that maybe some of us could step away and play something else.  Mrs. Gosspert said that wasn’t how things were done, and that we were going to all play kickball on that day, and maybe we would play something else tomorrow. She called it a compromise.

  I never did understand why I spent so many days playing kickball and softball, since I really didn’t enjoy them anymore than Stinky did. I feel the same way when politics works that way.

  I suppose there has always been a difference of opinion on just what constitutes recreation, just as there has always been a difference of opinion on what constitutes good and proper government. Every so often, we hold an election, and send some people to our county seats, state capitols, and to Washington, so that they can decide what we are all going to do for the next few years until we hold another election.

  There always seems to be a lot of different ideas on what we ought to be doing, and everybody seems to believe that everybody else ought to come around to their way of thinking. Everybody gets awfully mad at everybody else, and they spend a lot of time trying to work out some kind of compromise so that everybody gets something and nobody gets everything. Then the people that we sent to do the deciding don’t seem to be so mad anymore, but a lot of us that didn’t get to do the deciding end up pretty upset.

  I’ve thought it over, and I think the main reason people are so mad today is because the people we elect think that everybody needs to play the same game, and that the government ought to make sure that they do. I think my old buddy Stinky had the right solution years ago.

  I don’t have a bit of problem if a person or a group of persons wants the government to manage their healthcare or their retirement. And I really don’t care if somebody wants the government to collect and distribute their charitable giving. As far as I’m concerned, a person can give the government as much control over themselves as they desire. I just don’t think they ought to be giving the government so much control over everybody else.

  Whenever our government creates a program that doesn’t involve protecting us from force and fraud, everybody ought to have the freedom to decide whether or not they want to participate. Compromise doesn’t have to mean everybody loses something.  Sometimes a compromise can mean agreeing to disagree, and then simply going down our separate paths.

  I know that’s not how things are done, but I think maybe that’s how things ought to be done.

  Then maybe people wouldn’t be so mad all the time.

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