I’m somewhat stuck in a rut this week; well maybe not so much of a rut, but rather just somewhat concerned at the state of affairs in this country and I’m not talking about the current occupants of either the White House or the Governor’s Mansion. Rather it is the way I see people acting and reacting across the spectrum lately.
While I’m up every day heading to work to try to earn a living and keeping my head somewhat above water, I see people out in the streets, wringing their hands in worry and screaming at anyone who will listen. Now I’m not opposed to people having an opinion and voicing that, but when did we lose any sense of civility in society? Are we as a people so angry and bitter that we can’t share our feelings without name calling and shouting? I understand passion but seriously, it’s just making these people look a little like four-year olds you have just had their toys taken away.
At a town hall meeting recently I saw footage of, Senator Grassley was given a dose of what can only be described as a near lynch-mob mentality. While I wasn’t surprised at the passion and anger of some who spoke (a term I use lightly), what I was surprised at was how vile some of the comments that were thrust at him were. Now before you start getting all wound up, yes, I do realize that anytime you serve in any capacity like that you are subject to criticism and those who disagree with your position, but I still assert that the man deserves respect. Even those who are supportive of term limits and are upset with the amount of time he has served this state should agree that he is one of the few statesmen in the Senate who still is able to understand compromise and doesn’t waiver far from his convictions.
I’m struck by the attitude of the people who are upset. In my opinion, which if you added five dollars to still wouldn’t get you an ice cream cone, some of the things happening in the statehouse are equally puzzling. Chapter 20 which caused the biggest stir lately, is one in a long list of things that somehow slipped through committee and surprised its opponents although it really shouldn’t have. I’m still on the fence with how I feel about it. On one hand it does seem to take away much of the protection for worker in this state, but on the other I’m not sure how anyone couldn’t see it coming. Even in good years when the state and AFSCME came together peacefully, the unions blasted the state for not giving them more. And where were they when the economy was bad? As I read one representative explain, if the state gave the school districts 1.5% increase, and the union was seeking a 4% increase all the unions had to do was go to arbitration where under the old chapter twenty they were given the average of 2.5 to 3%. This put schools in a position where the only alternatives to balance budgets were to cut programs to staff. This explanation while not perfect made sense to me. If I only get a 1.5% raise at work I can’t expect my spending to be at an increase above that.
Right or wrong, and if you wait long enough and be diligent the tables will turn, regardless of which side of an issue you stand on, we should all try to keep as well informed as possible and let our representatives know how we feel. More importantly we should remember that no argument in known history was ever settled by screaming and name calling, and it is probably evident that it never shall be. We should all remember that when we are talking about a subject that we feel passionate about, and to remember that somewhere in between is a middle ground. We may not get there overnight, but we also can’t continue to live beyond our means and alienate those around us. If we continue to slay our elected officials in public soon the only ones who will be running things are probably people we shouldn’t have there in the first place; but once they are we are stuck, until we can move them back to whatever reality TV show they belong in. See you next week…remember, we’re all in this together.