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The Perils of Being Governed

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The continual upheaval of the last few months surrounding the conflagration over health care reform has served to illustrate almost everything wrong with government. It has been agonizing to witness the exchanges of diatribe and punditry and the conspicuous dearth of civility.

I would prefer to believe that all concerned within the seats of administration and lawmaking have had the nation's best interests at heart. And I would like to believe that it is the intention of the media to fulfill their vital task responsibly. Unfortunately, these admirable states of mind have been contradicted by the collective conduct of participants on all sides.

Only recently, the frightful reality of our government at work has revealed the dark hole that is our leadership in action. The process has been marked by apathy and what would, if committed by a doctor or a lawyer, have been tantamount to professional malpractice. Unfortunately, redress for such egregious negligence is not available in our courts.

How can there be justification for enactment of a critical instrument of legislation which has been unread by the majority of those who have to exercise their privilege to vote -- and I hope they remember it is both a privilege that must come with a sense of moral obligation to engage therein with the utmost of caution and conscience -- if they have not even read the matter in question? And how can there be a development of an intricate policy which can make or break people's lives without the meticulous care that is indispensable to its finest craftsmanship. Just as we are cautioned against a "rush to judgment" in discussing the resolution of a criminal court action, why are we willing to tolerate a "rush to enactment" of vital law without being duly informed of its contents.

The construction of the proposed bill was such that an excessive amount of authority to execute its provisions was delegated to administrative bodies, whose structure and limits of authority were open-ended. As such, these provisions would have been indelibly imprinted upon our governmental landscape, and if found to be unworkable, would have been impossible to rescind. The scope of the proposed changes was so vast that their consequences were incapable of being foreseen. This is not conscientious or responsible formulation of policy.

And one more question leads me to distraction. Did not our legislators, and our executive branch even consider or allow themselves by way of empathy to recognize the feeling of utter helplessness and fear that gripped the citizenry when it appeared that they had no control and no voice in their own destiny. As socialism and redistribution of wealth began to make their antipathetic appearances, and protests about their advent were met with understandable opposition, those who dared voice their discontent and apprehension were ridiculed and labeled as "Unamerican," agitators, and almost traitorous. Exercise of our precious rights and cherished freedoms were suddenly equated with anarchy. Just as the Iranian government, whose election became tainted, accused the opposing factions of agitation and planted disruption, so were opponents of the proposed health care legislation shown equal disdain and defamation.

I think our current governmental climate and the fragility of its stability goes far beyond the subject matter of the debate. Unscrupulous tactics and the absence of promised bipartisanship, highlighted by the finger-pointing and vociferous blame game, offer little hope of meaningful change. The call for spirituality and the need to put aside selfishness and genuinely try to achieve the desired ends for the greatest of all concerned will result in a greater glory for America than the one-upsmanship of any political party over another. Instead of constantly seeking credit for one party or another, the protective instincts of the governmental participants must rise to the forefront. EVERYONE will get the credit deserved, maybe even more so, with that wonderful quality known as magnanimity.

The emotional repercussions of the last few months must be recognized. The true danger is the total erosion of faith in government, so that when a crisis does present itself, we will be embedded in a quagmire of doubt and catastrophic and destructive inertia, so that needed action will be forestalled.

What happened to compassion and caring? Merely because these terms were not part of the oaths of office administered to everyone ascending to positions of authority, did this mean they were to be excluded or ignored? The threat to our blessed existence in a democracy is more pervasive than we realize. Somehow the criteria of political success, which is raising campaign money, should give way to the quantity of beneficence and moral conscience within each aspirant to public office. It wouldn't take that much effort, and the results and benefits would be far more positive than the allocation of accountability and reprehension.

It certainly couldn't hurt!