Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Weather or not...


I used to drink coffee about every morning with an old guy we called Smitty, who was fond of claiming that “It thaws a little every day in February.” I think his claim was based on the fact that the sun was getting a little higher in the sky that month, and that its rays were likely to find something somewhere that it could warm, even if ever so slightly. Smitty isn’t with us anymore, but if he were, I think I’d like to have another cup of coffee with him and ask his views on this last February.

            We woke up on the last day of the month to a thermometer that read 4 degrees. We started and ended a lot of days during the month well below the zero mark. I know there were a lot of days in February when it didn’t thaw anywhere. Not even a little bit. I just wanted Smitty to know that.

             Mark Twain or Charles Dudley Warner once said “Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.” I think for the most part, at least among the people I have talked to about it, everybody has had about enough of this winter. It seems even most of the people who normally enjoy winter weather are hesitant to admit it in mixed company, opting instead to post blurry pictures of anonymously built snowmen on Facebook from the relative safety of their homes.

            And even though nobody does anything about the weather, we seem to come up with ways to try and cope with it. Some folks move to Florida for the winter, and some folks simply visit other folks who move to Florida in the winter. I try to arrange the work schedule so it works out that we can be inside during the winter, and I have some thermal underwear and flannel-lined jeans I keep around for times when it doesn’t work out that way.

            I guess there are a lot of things in this world we can’t do much about, but we still manage to cope with them somehow. Weather is one thing, our federal government is another. I read a report the other day that pointed out Congress has a 9% approval rating. Since every time there is an election, we send about 90% of the same people back to Congress, I’m convinced no matter how disgusted we get, or how much we talk about it, we really don’t know what to do about it. I’m also convinced that if we did manage to replace all 535 senators and representatives, the bureaucrats who are so firmly entrenched in Washington would keep things rolling along at the current pace without too much of a hitch.

            Like the weather, even if we can’t really do anything about what is happening in Washington, there are a few things we can do to make it a little more bearable. Back when the Constitution was adopted, the folks that adopted it added the Bill of Rights, including the 10th Amendment, which states that “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” That means whenever Congress passes a law or program that it doesn’t have the Constitutional authority to pass, the states can individually or collectively say “No thanks.”

            Of course, for that to happen, we need to do more than just talk about. We also need to elect people to our local governments and state legislatures who understand what the 10th Amendment really means, and really want to do something about it.

             That’s if you’re looking for something to do, of course.

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