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Soft Shoulder Ahead

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Am just back from a road trip. During the long drive I listened to way too much talk radio. Diane Rehm still trying to get a caller with a horrible signing-up for healthcare story. No one called. BBC covering the Ukraine uprising over joining the European Union or having Putin cut off their gas supplies just in time for winter. What a Bully-shevik. And Leonard Lopate waiting for NYC-Mayor-to-be, Bill DeBlasio's big announcement. No, his lovely wife is still with him. Sigh.

While he was waiting, Lopate took calls about a New York Times column by David Brooks who had been on three months leave, probably writing another pseudo-social-science quick book about the latest on Boomer Bohos and Millennial Uh ohs. I've enjoyed his break and wish that Thomas Friedman would take the rest of his writing life off.

The attention his column has gotten must give Brooks reassurance that he hasn't lost his mojo. Give me a good Gail Collins column any day. And the only reason I hope Hillary Clinton does not run for president, is my blood pressure cannot take Maureen Dowd's snarky columns on all things Clinton. I do take it personally.

Fresh from his three-month reverie, Brooks opines that government is a big, slow-moving thing -- witness the rollout of Obamacare -- and that people who take their identity from politics and party affiliation should not spend more than 10 percent of their time on it. They should spend their days on philosophy, friendship, romance, family, culture and fun.

Of course Brooks could have used an example other than Obama's healthcare reform - i.e. gun control, immigration reform, financial reform - to illustrate the glacial movement of government.

Actually glaciers are moving much faster these days. We do not have the 10 percent luxury of the 1-percenters like David Brooks. As the great poet Muriel Rukeyser said, "Pay attention to what they tell you to forget." Pick a passion -- a food bank, homeless shelter, literacy volunteers, trans-violence, anti-fracking, fair wages, the Dream Act -- put your shoulder to the wheel and stay involved in 2014.