Friday, September 11, 2009

Right turns.

I love Jim Wooten's right-eous column in the AJC. It's a breath of pragmatic conservatism, without all the shouting and cynicism of so many mouthy media pundits.

I am conservative by nature and philosophy, and have been since my college days. (How's that for a not-so-typical experience? While most of my professors and college peers were avowedly liberal in those post-Vietnam years, I came to NCSU from a patriotic, military dependent childhood.) I actually feel more in the independent camp, but that particular label means very little participation in the voting process. Maybe one day there will be more options for moderates than the polar opposites of present-day politics.

This week, I've had many, many thoughts about government thanks to personal experience with the many ways local, county, state, and national entities impact our lives. I rarely embark on political rants here, but . . .
My neighborhood is embroiled in a lawsuit against our own City of Dunwoody about some pretty amazing procedural errors that are costing us dearly. A very early "oops, we did that wrong" would have saved both sides all this angst. Meanwhile, we're still being painted as whining backyardagains who just don't understand complicated stuff like ordinances and legal proceedings and mediation. Guess our backgrounds as accountants, attorneys, financial consultants, educators, development specialists, engineers, airline pilots, nurses, computer programmers, and civic volunteers don't count.
 President Obama's speech to the nation's schoolchildren certainly blew a few gaskets. I am most definitely not in favor of most of his social policies, but I felt that hearing a speech by the President of the United States is always a great thing for students. The reality is that our kids couldn't hear the speech because of crappy technology and sheer busy-ness of a rigorous academic day. Even if the President had tossed in a few political bones, I'm quite confident that we could have had a very healthy discussion at home. I watched the speech. It was fine.

Two of my favorite blogs are John Heneghan's timely updates about the City of Dunwoody and DeKalb School Watch, a watchdog extraordinare for our local public schools. John is one of the fairest people I know . . . you get both sides and even a mea culpa now and then. As for the DeKalb School Watch, the comments provide fascinating insights into school government-gone-fat in an era of cost cutting and expected sacrifice by teachers and students.  A recent blog noted that DeKalb's curriculum administration pays nearly $31 million for 551 administrators. Really?  And that's just a small subset of the overall administrative costs of our school system.
America is a republic.  (Which should not be confused with Republicans. That's a political party and philosophy.) Since we're a republic, we vote for City Councilpeople, Representatives and Senators, County Commissioners and Boards of Education to represent us. We're not a democracy. Can you imagine what life would be like if we had to vote on every single decision? Gridlock.
I adamantly do not want the national government handling healthcare.  One of my favorite Britcoms, Waiting for God, has an episode where Tom entered the hospital for prostate surgery. When Diana visited him, she was directed to a room she couldn't find. "Where is Room 00?" she asked a nurse. "Oh, we had patient overflow. This hall is a room now because we have patients in it." There was Tom, sleeping on a cot rolled into a hallway - along with four other male patients. No privacy, just a cheerful nurse insisting this was normal." Diana's ensuing rant about England's National Health Care Service was priceless - and illuminating. 
That's enough for one day. It's time to hit the road for North Carolina. I'm visiting my parents while the rest of the family stays here for homework and meetings and sundry events at church. 

1 comment:

  1. I also look forward to Jim Wooten's Thinking Right column on Fridays. Good luck with the zoning issue appeal and to all of us with the "health care reform" that is so urgently needed it won't kick in until 2013 in all of the Democrat (party and philosophy!) plans.

    On both of the items you mention, it is also worth remembering that we are a federal republic. Decisions on most items are meant to be the responsibility of the lowest possible level, with a bias towards the individual being the primary decider.

    You have to fight City Hall on zoning, but not the Congress. And health care should belong to the citizens, not to Congress.

    All the best, Steve Barton


Thanks for sharing your thoughts - it's great to hear from you!