Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Letter to the Editor

Last week, I was motivated by a series of recent events to write a letter to the editor of the Roanoke Times. Because many of you don't see the Times, I am reprinting it here.

"Hey world, are you listening? Over the past few weeks, both houses of the U.S. Congress, their leaders, and the Executive Branch engaged in an exaggerated game of “school yard bullying.”

If you watched the news, you saw a succession of primarily guys in ties pointing the finger of blame at “the other side,” because the other side didn’t like what their side was advocating for budget reform. Forget the details. They were bad enough, but the name calling and blamesmanship were down-right embarrassing.

If one more guy in a tie had yapped about speaking for the people, I would have run screaming from the room. None were speaking for me.

Hey world, did you learn a lesson? Even with the egregious behavior of our elected officials, we actually got a negotiated agreement on the current year’s budget. If no one likes it, it must be all right.

Hey world, did you notice? Even with all the bad behavior, no one drew a gun. No one tried to overthrow our government. No one walked out on the negotiations.

Hey Wisconsin, did you learn a lesson?"

I might add that democracy is messy, but I wouldn't trade it for any other system in the world today. Tomorrow, maybe, but not today.


Jennifer Merritt said...

That's exactly how I felt about the Gore / Bush election. Regardless of how I felt about the results, I was so proud of the peaceful transfer of power.

Of course, then I go to a school board or board of supervisors meeting and I have a hard time embracing the merits of a representative democracy.

Great post Betsy!

Betsy Ashton said...

One answer to the world might be to remember that civility is a critical part of democracy. Our elected officials seem to delight in being uncivil, as if it's a sign of manhood. It isn't, but I'm afraid they're too worried about posturing for the electorate than in getting the job done. I'd like to see them focused on the job...

Anonymous said...

I would say Canada could do better, but right now with Stephen Harper, they can't.