Integrity Matters
October 1 , 2008

When elephants rumble, the grass - us - suffers

Question: (E-364)

2008 "elephants" are the power-brokers in Washington and the masses of citizens are the grass being positioned to bail out Wall Street. Well-paid partisans do battle, wasting even more resources in what sometimes appears to be a blind rage of party-driven righteousness to facilitate the assignment of blame. And who suffers when these "elephants" fight? It is the everyday folks - "the grass" - who will again be stuck with the bill. And this time the financial damages are not in the millions or billions, but in the trillions.

Our nation has devolved into a dysfunctional family. The primary players are parents; not mom and dad, per se, but rather, Democrats and Republicans. They set the tone for the entire family. Their bickering, back-biting and outright mean spiritedness etches ugliness on the very soul of society's family. Honest grievances are trivialized, while dialogue becomes diatribe.

Members of the "family" - the citizens - look to their "parents" for guidance, reassurance and leadership. Instead, the elected leaders - both Democrats and Republicans - bombard each other and society with their self-serving attacks on one another. The tensions they create are confusing. If they treat each other so harshly, just how will they treat us if we challenge them? Even though they justify their vicious actions as having been motivated in the name of "doing what is best for the family" - the climate is confusing. After awhile, the family members themselves begin to behave as members of an alcoholic or co-dependent family. The "youngsters" - the citizens - wanting to please either or both of their intense and indulgent parents, are often confused on just how to gain approval and reduce their own anxiety.

When there are seemingly no lows to which the fierce partisans will not stoop to maintain power, then there will be very few, if any, rules to guide integrity-centered social interactions. Violence is lamented, but is clearly sanctioned by the irresponsible "parents" who, instead of resolving differences in respectful discussion, relentlessly sabotage one another; infrequently apologizing.

These "parental" turf-battles may not create gangs and endorse class warfare; however, they do little to discourage counterproductive or anti-social behavior. Self-interest replaces social commitment. Selfishness, in the name of leveraging a majority power position, fuels opportunistic decision-making with unintended, even destructive, consequences.

Perhaps Senators McCain and Obama, with a combined 96 percent buy-in from the American voters, will choose to release their vice-presidential nominees, deciding to lead our nation together. The winner becomes president and the loser, vice president, just as presidential elections were conducted in the early days of the republic. During their partnership, they agree to be forthright and forceful, yet gracious - remaining singularly-focused on the well-being and security of the United States of America.

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