Just Nuts

A definition of insanity is to do the same thing the same way repeatedly while expecting a different result.

I’ve read the statement above a number of times in my life. I don’t know who’s being quoted, I simply know that I believe that it’s true. It has to do with making the same mistake more than once, something I’m guilty of. Back in elementary school I found that it was an error to make a wisecrack to an angry teacher. That doing so would have negative repercussions. I was a “child of independent thought” and therefore compelled to repeat the error, inevitably turning a verbal reprimand into a much harsher correction. At one school I did it often enough that I was, to my parent’s consternation, invited to leave permanently. In that case I learned that repeating an error a sufficient number of times could have a very negative impact on me. In the end I finally learned to keep my mouth shut, but it was the army where I learned to keep my comments to myself as well as learning to keep a poker face. Giving a drill instructor the stinkeye was no less an offense to an insubordinate comment.

I think most people have learned about repeating errors and so try to minimize repetition of mistakes, and in more ways than speaking one’s mind at inappropriate times. At this moment in time though, I have to wonder if we, as a nation, have learned the age old lesson when it comes to “the suffrage.”  I am, of course, talking about our right to vote. We have a congress with the lowest popularity rating in the history of our country. Never has any US congress been so negatively perceived as the one we have today. Our congress has fallen from favor steadily, with the vast majority of the country believing that our elected public servants have no interest in working to make the country better and stronger. Yet time and time again the voters return incumbents to office, apparently thinking they will act differently than they have since taking office. It takes death, old age, or extreme scandal to unseat a congressperson. A few who actually wanted to accomplish good things have resigned in disgust, and from both sides of the aisle. Lousy governance isn’t completely tied to party, but it does say something that a growing number of conservatives have become independents, eschewing the radicalism sweeping through their numbers.

But the point here is that we, as a country are dissatisfied with those we keep electing and yet we keep on reelecting them as though in some magical way there’ll be an improvement. Or maybe some of us believe it’s not our representative that’s the problem. That the other states need to vote someone new into office. But that’s magical thinking because of the people in other states who believe the same thing; the other states are the problem. The truth of it is that we need to start sweeping in order to effect a change and we can only affect change in our own states.

Unless a candidate is really good and shares my view on a majority of issues, I will rarely vote for an incumbent. I believe that by changing those in office, we get better representation because of the ‘new eyes’ factor. Reelecting incumbents keeps the same perspectives and same methods, networks and cliques in place. New eyes give us new perspectives, new alliances and new methods. It makes our government more responsive to the issues that matter to us today. Incumbents tend to pay lip service to new issues only to return to the same old grind. That, as we can clearly see, results in an almost comatose government that spends it’s time with petty prejudices rather than working to raise the vitality, power and economy. Much better to go for change because that will produce change.

Anything else is just crazy.