While the rest of you were sleeping, I was up pondering…unable to shut off my over active brain. I don’t know if it’s a sign of things to come…you know, that dreaded “M” word, but lately I’ve been wide awake at 3:00 in the morning. I have my usual pattern of making some tea, and if I can, just soaking up the silence. The great epiphany I had last night, was how the world seems to be more and more intolerant every day. I know this collective bargaining issue has fired many citizens up, and no one, in my experience, seems to see the big picture here…(of course in my omnipotence, I do…pause for communal groan…) My epiphany was this: no one group should have too much control; the foundation of our country is based on avoiding the corruption that comes with having all the power. Lord Acton Winston said it beautifully, “Absolute power corrupts absolutely”. The checks and balances and separation of powers is what allows American democracy to work, and any movement away from that threatens the central tenants of this great American experiment.
Our particular strain of freedom demands that those of different minds come together and find solutions that represent every constituency, some of which are in direct opposition to each other. Let me remind you all of another important quote, the single quotations are mine: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, the all ‘people’ are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable Rights, among them are these, Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” The word that I pondered a long time is unalienable, which means to never take away. The basis of any piece of legislation that our elected officials put through should guarantee that those inalienable Rights are protected. That isn’t the case here in Wisconsin as far as I can see it…and it really has nothing to do with what side of the fence I stand on. No one group should be able to unreasonably unlevel the playing field. All of us need bargaining power to even things out and guarantee at least in theory, that the right to Happiness isn’t earmarked for those who are in power at any given time.
I also spent a lot of time pondering the way information gets disseminated about the issues that are troubling us politically. The truth really depends on what network you watch. Even the lack of bias in journalism perpetuates the imbalance of power. I saw pictures of aggressive union members acting violence in reference to the protesters in Wisconsin…only there were palm trees in the background….seriously, is that kind of deception necessary in justifying a position, do they think we’re that stupid? I don’t think so, because there are enough valid issues on either side of the aisle, that we really need to address, without all the sneaky tactics. I find it distrubing that we are missing those Democratic senators, they have a job to do and while they may lose… they can’t stay in Illinois for the tenure of their office. If it is true that the people won’t support it, let the people address it in the next election. As painful as that is for some, this whole situation has served as a wake up call that there are serious money issues in this state that we have to face…and all of us need to share the burden of that crisis, especially those who didn’t exercise their right to vote (and that is a whole other story). It will never happen without transparency and truth. Everyone needs to put their real agenda’s on the table, and TALK…this isn’t a poker game where the best hand winds and everyone else loses…because the pursuit of Happiness is a right that we all share.