Albert Camus, the French philosopher, is often associated with a bunch of high-falutin hogwash on esoteric subjects.
But, according to reviews of recent biographies, Camus, politically speaking, was much more a pragmatic thinker – something we could use a dose of today with all the paranoid theories of government working to destroy the Constitution, U.N. takeovers, death panels killing seniors and the secret plot by the president, really a Muslim fanatic in hiding who has bigger secret plans––as though the United States presidency wasn’t enough.
In the face of much heated political rhetoric and talk of revolutions, assaults of the Constitution, defending our liberty, rights under siege, standing up to tyranny, we need someone to remind us that most Americans want our great country to improve, not have bankers, pharmacists and insurance agents rioting in the streets.
It’s ironic how quickly groups and candidates using fiery rhetoric wilt in their radicalism when Occupy groups actually do march in the streets also demanding change.
So, back to Camus––at this time, we’d like to remind groups from the Tea Party to the Occupiers that the average Americans desires a tax system that is fair and as low as possible, government that is responsive to our needs and decent healthcare. We want to feel secure in our homes and with our firearms. We want to know our kids will grow up in neighborhoods that are as safe as the ones we live in now or maybe a little better and that these young people will get the chance to make a good living.
But, many of us will balance the call for low taxes and small government with the recognition that the elderly must be cared for if they reach the end of the lives without personal bank accounts to cover the wildly-high costs of operations and medications.
We want to know that our government is not handing out money to able-bodied people who won’t work, but also that the kids of these people aren’t going hungry in the streets.
And we want to see our government treating both the rich and poor and the middle classes fairly. And that our laws are not giving large corporations unfair advantages over small businesses.
We don’t need a revolution to achieve any of this. We need lawmakers who will bring common sense and problem solving, (even if it means bi-partisan co-operation) to work everyday – not the ability to ignite a crowd of patriots with hype.
A lot of speakers call for “clean sweeps” of elected officials. Without ascertaining between public servants trying to do a good job and the abusers of public funds, it’s easy to say “sack them all.” But that’s a shortsighted reaction to Washington. There are certainly some politicians who need to go, but keep in mind when you have a clean sweep you get rid of everyone, including people like Senator Johnny Isakson, State Rep. Rick Jasperse and Congressman Tom Graves.
Besides creating unrealistic goals, this yelling and screaming showmanship hampers genuine discourse, debate and education. It further distracts real analysis of the problems we face as a country, in favor of catchy phrases.
Discussing the situation with one state official, he expressed dismay to realize how few people take time to read, comment on or discuss the actual workings of government. This official said it’s often hard to weigh the pro’s and cons of programs, because so many people begin with a take-no-prisoners attitude of debate.
People get so accustomed to seeing political shows with trash-talking banter, that if someone wants to discuss the finer points of cutting a state budget without impacting teacher salaries, no one will listen.
It’s boring to discuss the real challenges of government and reform compared to a revolution. But ask yourself, do you really want a revolution in this country?