Beyond winners and losers
“What we choose to fight is so tiny!
What fights with us is so great!
… When we win it’s with small things,
and the triumph itself makes us small.”
Rainer Maria Rilke, translated by Robert Bly
I was struck again by how much of the news around the partial government shutdown was cast in terms of “winners and losers.” The question so often was about which party would get the blame and which would come out on top. In these hyper-partisan times we’ve become accustomed to this, but we shouldn’t keep falling for it. This is finally a false way of looking at things and an awfully limited way of going about politics.
By nature governing involves making choices, many of them quite difficult. It involves matters that we are passionate about. Necessarily, it involves give and take. So, we have to allow democracy, government by and for the people, to be messy. But it doesn’t have to be small-minded and mean-spirited. And to keep reducing politics to who’s coming out on top, who’s holding onto power, is awfully limiting. It works against constructive debate, imagination, and the long (often wiser) view. It can make us forget the whole purpose of government – its constructive role in ordering our common life and providing services that can only be handled, or best handled, centrally.
And while folks who favor a very limited role for government may disagree, and while there is much room for interpretation here, I believe that in our democracy government has an important role to play in looking out for the common good, and specifically in caring for those left behind, the nation’s most vulnerable.
I’m pretty sure that when the agreement was reached on Monday to end the shutdown and fund the government through Feb. 8, the majority of us were relieved. And who “won” then? We all did. The country as a whole won. We all won because we need a functioning government. And we won because some of our elected officials got a taste again for legislating, in this case 20 senators, men and women around a table in Susan Collins’ office, who kept talking and listening, committed to finding a way forward.
And because the agreement included renewed funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, nine million children and their families won. CHIP has a great record, and has proven itself to be a cost-saving measure. It’s renewal now, after languishing in Congress since the end of September, means health and peace of mind for 134,000 Georgia children and their families (PeachCare for Kids). Because they “won,” all of us won.
Last week, a student brought a gun to an elementary school in Bibb County in a backpack. Tuesday, a 15-year-old shooter in a small town in Kentucky left two 15-year-olds dead in the 11th school shooting of 2018. As we debate how to reduce gun violence, there is one simple step adults can take: lock up our guns so children and teens cannot get hold of your firearm.
The presence of an unlocked, loaded gun in the home is a high risk for suicide, unintentional shootings and other tragedies that occur when kids get hold of a gun yet, 1.7 million children live in homes with unsecured firearms. Each year, 400 adolescents commit suicide with a gun, 300 children and teenagers unintentionally shoot another person and more than half of shooters at k-12 schools were minors. The majority of the weapons used in these shootings were obtained from the shooter’s home.
As a volunteer for Be SMART, a non-political educational program developed by Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, I give presentations and attend events in my community to inform parents and others about the importance of safe firearm storage. We work with people who hold varied opinions on gun laws and have differing experiences with guns. Despite these differences, feedback is 100 percent positive about the program because we can all agree that we need to keep kids safe. For more information: besmartforkids.org.
The most recent articles presented in this section of The Telegraph present a true picture of Macon-Bibb County’s budgetary process. The taxpayers have been being used to enriching a still bloated government. At the top a mayor and county manager. A bus system with zero accountability. They are just another part of the cycle of spend and neglect. They should have been sold or downsized years ago. They are an economic disaster. You and I must live within our means, but the mayor and commissioners continue to burden us with their incompetence.
They should immediately enact term limits. Several departments are fruitless. I call to complain about the lack of service, only to have to call the mayor’s hotline to get no better results. I guess the taxpayers are willing to just keep allowing zero accountability!
The consolidated government already has term limits for mayor and commissioners.
It’s a bit like Christmas in July when I read the “No shame” tirade against our vice president in the Jan. 25 edition of The Telegraph. Since when does the vice president have to utter something other then what going on in Washington? Perhaps because old Chucky shut down the government Randy Shearer is having a fit, but it is certainly not the vice president’s fault. Oh, and by the way, if politics is involved, lets put the blame where it really lies, with the Democrats who shut down the government in January over a program set to expire in March.
I can’t believe that David Mannn believes: ‘’that Obama demeaned the dignity of the presidency in several ways” Then says “Trump has demeaned it even more.”
Obama was a class act as president and still is a class act. While “The Donald” has told several thousand lies and does so on a daily basis, bragged about groping women, said all Haitians have HIV/AIDS and live in “*** holes.” He’s a birther and a racist and called U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas.” Trump’s not an icon, but a travesty of the Electoral College.
I’ve always agreed with everything Mann has written so I can forgive him for this major error of judgement. After all, only Christ was perfect and they nailed him to a cross.
Frank W. Gadbois,