As a kid we had afternoon activities at the Plandome Road School in Manhasset on Long Island. The Police Boys Club was the place to be and we played basketball or my beloved dodge ball in the gym.You know the drill. Everyone line up on either side of the center line and four or six beach ball like missiles are put into play.
In the game you can either get hit, thereby being eliminated or you could catch the ball and the thrower was ejected. It got out all sorts of pubescent aggression and outrage and of course it was considered good clean fun. Sneak attacks and totally annihilating someone was considered primo and for the most part nothing more than egos were battered.
Now this endeavor had no team per se, so the last boy standing won. Sorry we weren’t into girls yet. Bragging rights and highly offensive heckling were also in vogue and on the walk home you were all buddies again. I think the seeds were being planted for our future pols and the little charade we know as Congress. I hope you caught Harry Reid speaking of his dear friend and colleague Mitch McConnell the other day. They really are the dysfunctional part of our American Family.
But the similarity of childhood and today’s children doesn’t end there. You all know how we could put things off. Term papers. Studying for tests. Who the hell would want to plan in advance? Cram at the end and then say the dog ate your homework. Any excuse will work even though you know you had this assignment six months ago. You wanted to go out and play and not do homework. The called it recess then and they call it recess now.
Last but not least there were the BMOC’s and now the BWOC’s. Best Whatever on Campus. They were cool. The opposite sex loved them. They would swoon and coo when they walked by but only an idiot didn’t realize there was not a lot going on upstairs. They each had their clicks and you had to pledge to get in. Once in you did things in unison following the leader. If you even feigned an original thought you were ostracized. Stay in line. That is not the way we do things around here. Interesting how little changes over time.
When we speak of government it really is the institution itself. The buildings, the bureaucracy and the falderal. Governance is a lot different. It is leadership and making decisions for better or worse. It is not hemming or hawing. It is setting a course and getting there. It is forming consensus. It is about putting the greater good above your own.
This thing called leadership is terribly interesting. It is the process of social interaction whereby one person or persons enlist the aid and support of of others in the accomplishment of a common task. Now that can be any variety of tasks. The Don of a Mafia organization can be considered a leader. His getting people to think the same way might be different than mine. Fuggedaboutit. A doctor can lead a surgical team. A foreman handling a work crew. A leader of a party or faction.
What distinguishes these from failure or success is measured in many ways. Did you get your point across? Did you win skirmishes or the battle? Was it a Phyrric victory where no one was left standing at he end. The true leader in my mind can bring together various factions understanding the nature of the human spirit but knowing full well what it will take in the long run. Schmooze and cajole but keep your eye on the goal line.
Now kids will get pissed off, take their ball and go home shouting empty retorts and expletives. Their legions of followers will sing Hosanna to them for being so courageous but in the long run what got done? There was no game. No game and everyone loses. I didn’t come here to argue. I made my point now let’s move on. That’s tough. You swallow principal and pride but there is always something you can hang on to say “Hey it is not that bad after all”.
We had a thing called Simpson Bowles. It was and still is a great blueprint for getting control of our purse strings. Obama put the group together and they put a report on his desk three years ago almost to the day. Not very inspiring. But sad to say the other sides in Congress didn’t pound the table and say we have got to look at this either. Now everyone is saying it was pretty good after all. Kind of like having your term paper outline already written for you and you are too stupid or egotistical to see the forest through the trees. Think of all the precious time and money we have lost while dithering.
We need leaders, my friends. We need another party called the center. By most accounts there are 50% of us or more who can’t stand either side. We need someone to come forward. People feel leaders are born, taught or just emerge. I don’t care how we get them, just send them as fast as possible.I am not kidding. We need more than bipolar politics. We need to form coalitions on different issues. It can work.
But it also takes us to be leaders. It takes us to put our agendas aside. We have got to enlist each other’s support for a common good. Dodge ball is a kids game. Let’s grow up.
Ted The Great.
I gained eight pounds on vacation and have lost seven of them since Saturday.I asked Kathy how that happens? Well she said you eat too much, drink too much and don’t exercise. Brilliant my dear. Brilliant.
We are moving…again. We are giving up our 1895 house and moving into a condo. This will either be the beginning of something or the end. Stay tuned.
Peyton Manning is back. Real back.Glad he is on our side.
This blog is being written in my future office in our new abode. Not there yet but opining while waiting for a vendor. I am five stories up which is not exactly like my front porch at 701 Williams. I wonder if my voice will carry down to the street. I think you already know that answer
These factoids are totally nonsensical and whimsical which fits in perfectly with the topic of this week’s epistle.Gotta catch a plane to DC. Just what they need. One more whack job.