Tuesday, February 17, 2009

On Literature, Life and Politics

Wisdom stands the test of time. It is more important than intelligence or goodwill in forming good public policy.

With events in the halls of leadership in Washington and Sacramento, I wish the slogans the legislators pass by each day are emblazoned with the words


That should be the government equivalent of the doctor's oath to, "First do no harm."

We are badly in need of a national kumbaya moment. To get back to our best, most innocent selves, I would suggest President Obama and Congress all join in a national reading of any version of "The Sky is Falling."

In this fantasy moment, I picture the Congress of the United States sitting cross-legged on the floor listening to an elementary school librarian read the story outloud. We would be watching- like a televised national book club.

No one would be allowed to mention their political label- or anyone else's. If that takes duct tape on whoever drives you nuts when they open their mouth- the Sargent of Arms would have power- and the guts- to administer whatever means it takes to get individuals within the legislative class to shut-up and listen.

The story dates back to the Jakata Tales of ancient Indian Buddhist Folklore. Whichever version- Chicken Licken, Henny Penny or Chicken Little shout "The sky is falling." We would remember the importance courage. Recall the dire consequences to using rumours of imminent disaster- which can grow to historic proportions. Internalize the seriousness that if these rumors prove false- lack of respect is the result.

No government can lead well- no citizenry can prosper- without respect.

Once we graduate from THE SKY IS FALLING, every adult should sit down to their own copy of Viktor E. Frankl's Man's Search for Meaning. There is in each of us, "the defiant power of the human spirit." That is something that cannot be legislated. It must spring from within. It is "just such an exceptionally difficult external situation which gives man the opportunity to grow spiritually beyond himself." Frankl offered as truth that man finds the possiblities within himself is not based on conditions- but on decisions he makes. When government usurps our individual need to stand up with dignity, we become spiritually impoverished.

Yes. This is post was spawned by the so-called economic stimulus plan. The newest sky-is-falling-boondoggle. While there is much to admired within it- taken as a whole- it doesn't even pass the "Truth in Labeling" standard. I cannot tell you how offensive it is to have a bunch of lawyers sign it without even pretending to read it Is that what they advised their clients? Is that what they learned in law school? Because if it is- then I don't know why there is more money going to higher education until the curriculum is revised. After all, it was not uneducated men who led us into this crisis. Quite the contrary.

A note to California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Speaker of the Assembly Karen Bass and Senate President pro tem Darrel Steinberg. Could you stop one moment and go across the hall. To the Republican side. I know that in a visual society, Republicans are not seen as a minority. But we are. All we ask is the same respect as any other minority. Don't patronize us and call us obstructionists to the press. That is not productive.

We understand that it is a painful time. Many of us have businesses that are struggling. If we are not struggling ourselves, we have friends, neighbors and family who are. However, we believe that until we learn to exercise with courage that most important word, "no" then we cannot get past the fiscal quagmire that we earned by not being more judicious in deliberations. Like it or not, we need to say "no" so the ecosytem of economic health can heal and continue on a road to good health.

I wrestled for a few days about posting this. Did it fit in the context of the mission of this blog?

The decision to free-flow and publish is based upon the fact that a good life is not narcisistic. It isn't only about one's own comfort. As Dennis Prager teaches- to have happiness, one must have a philosophy of life on which to center decisions.

Kellee Fritzal told me something in the early 1990's. I was a Parks and Recreation Commissioner. She was a staffer. I was concerned about how what I said was perceived by more entrenched government types. Kelly laughed. She told me my "charm" was that I was willing to say what everyone was thinking, but didn't have the nerve to say "outloud."

So here's to you Kellee Fritzal- wherever you may be. You gave me courage when I would just have assumed kept my mouth shut. Thank you.


Unknown said...

I don't know if we know the same Kellee Fritzal, but if it is the same one-- she is deputy economic director of Huntington Beach...

Lydia said...

Thank you! Drop by again.

Kellee said...

Lydia -
Nice to hear from you and see you are writing and still speaking your mind