Monday, October 10, 2011

We Can Learn A Lot From a Straw

Have you ever done something for a long time, say your whole life, and one day realized there is a better way to do it?  I had that experience recently and it was eye opening.  I, like many others, used the grasp in your hand while banging it into the table method when I wanted to get the paper off.  This method works fine.  The problem is that about every third time, the straw bends during the violent thrashing against the table.  Then you end up with the little hole in the side of the straw that lets in as much air as liquid totally ruining your drinking experience.

Well one day, while taking my daughters to Chik-Fil-A, I noticed a 3 year old try it a different way.  I noticed that she grabbed the straw with two hands and pulled in opposite directions stretching the paper until it broke, pulling it right off the straw.  Since then, I have had a much easier time drinking my large lemonade at Chik-Fil-A.

This experience, among others, got me to thinking about our government.  If I could go thirty some years doing something a certain way that I thought was best and suddenly there is a much easier less destructive way, couldn't that apply to the troubles our country faces?  Couldn't our government find easier ways to deal with unemployment?

In the last two weeks, many protesters have come out in droves to protest Wall Street and our political and economic systems in general.  People are tired of rich and powerful people taking advantage of them.  Unemployment is still around 10%.  The poverty level is rising into the middle class.  Wall Street is continuing to be able to do whatever they want even though their unregulated greed is a big reason for the mess we are in today.  Bank of America, the largest bank in the country, is now leading the charge for new bank fees per month for everyone that uses their debit cards.  The status quo is just not working anymore and thankfully people are standing up to be heard.

President Obama ran his campaign in 2008 on a guarantee of change from the previous regime.  These first three year surely don't feel like a lot of change to me.  The lobbyists are still calling the shots, taxes are still high, the government is still in our business and the giant companies are still making all the money at our expense.

There is one thing that has changed in that last decade or two and has an ugly feel to it.  It also seems to have people on the left and the right equally as annoyed.  It is the almost unilateral rejection each party's leaders has to the other side’s ideas.  No matter what ideas our President comes up with, it is automatically met with unilateral rejection from the Republican congress.  Same thing if the Republican House comes to the table with an idea.  How can we expect to move forward with ideas on how to fix things when our own government is stuck in childish gridlock?

Finally there are the new calls for change.  Suddenly, I am hearing a lot more promises in these early days of the new Presidential election.  These include promises about bringing troops home, ideas about a flat tax, and ideas about keeping the lobbyist out.  All ideas to make you feel good but will probably end up on the cutting block.  So until the people really rise up and realize that there is a better way to open a straw, I have a feeling we are going to be stuck sucking on air.