Once again that thoughtful fellow David Brooks has grabbed my thoughts and turned them into something worth sharing. He calls himself a conservative, but I suspect he is conservative in the small 'c' sense more than the large 'C' variety that is an ideology. That's a whole other post, and probably a sermon as well, though.
It seems what he is asking is whether we can be a nation of grown ups, people with the experience and wisdom to realize that no government is perfect but also that no government at all is stupid. Given recent history, or should I say 'hystery' implying the hysterical quality of public discourse. Maybe that should be dis'coarse,' come to think of it.
I do have a suggestion, though, that will never fly but it makes so much sense. Since our national leaders have lost so much trust from the American public, and much of that comes from the sense that they are out for themselves more than the people - be it influence, money or power - one way to be more grown up is to come clean.
Publish all Congressional Tax returns. The President releases his every year, and the Vice President, if memory serves. Why not Congress? We always hear rumors of the influence of lobbyists. Many members are wealthy now, far more as a proportion than the general public. As they hold a large public trust that makes it possible to line their pockets, should they not have to come clean and prove they have not?
I know, they will simply hide it all the more. Maybe. But this is a no cost action that over time could reduce the climate the suspicion and contempt that has crept upon the halls of power.
I think the same should be true at the state level. In my simple little mind, 'great power brings great responsibility' as a comic book once said. Those serving the public trust have forgotten that. Revealing their own stake in the legislative process would go a long way I think. What do you think?