Pin It

People who know me know I hate exercise -- I like to spell it 'exorcise'.  But I do it almost every day, even though I haven't felt lately that it has been doing much for managing my weight.  So imagine my joy when I saw a CNN video in which Dr. Sanjay Gupta explains that you don't really lose much weight from exercise.  Gupta reported that only 10% to 30% of calories are lost through physical activity.  We were brought up to think exercise is a major factor in weight loss, and now experts are saying it's not, and, furthermore, that we feel entitled to eat more after exercise, even though it only takes four chocolate chip cookies to nullify the 200 calories you shed in a 30 minute walk.  First something is scientifically true.  Then it's not.  Then it is. Then it's not...  Life is like a Monty Python comedy routine!

Politics is exactly the same (except it is not funny).  We elect a Democrat, and when he or she has done enough damage to the country to make us mad, we elect a Republican.  And when that person has done enough damage to make us sick of Republicans, we elect a Democrat.  My theory has been that four, or even eight years isn't enough to do irreparable damage to the nation, and the constant political swing evens things out, if you can remove yourself from the minute-to-minute cable TV news hysteria and take the long view.

Nobody ever said governing in the United States makes any sense.  Modern major news organizations have become so fascinated with the behind the scenes deal making, plotting, and political machinations that have superseded real news about what elected officials are accomplishing.  We've all been trained to buy into this.  Answer quickly and honestly: would you be more likely to click on a story like "President Trump's gaffe touts 'abolition of civil rights' at National Prayer Breakfast" or "Nancy Pelosi's poignant clap goes viral" or "U.S. weekly jobless claims retreat from one-and-a-half-year high"?  We all know the last one is the real news, but hey!  Those Tweeters sure are having fun!

The national culture has embraced politics, opinion, and scandal over accomplishments and failures, and actual news.  And our highest level leaders are more about "he did it" than "I did it".  How did we get from "The buck stops here" in 1945 to "The buck never stops" or "The buck?  What buck?" in 2018?

Why is everything so convoluted in government?  Wouldn't it be healthier if we could elect centrists who would work hard to make sensible decisions for the benefit of all the people, instead of see-sawing between the extreme edges of both major political parties?  The system is rigged that way because of the primary election mechanism.  You can't win your party without catering to the extreme left (D) or right (R).  The very unfortunate outcome for the country is that there are no reasonable candidates in the general election.  The 2016 election was a case in point.

Short of eliminating the party system entirely, the best solution might be to eliminate the primaries, so that each presidential candidate runs on his or her own merits, and not beholding to one faction or another.  Or here's another way this could work:  Let Republicans, not Democrats, vote in the Democratic primary, and Democrats, not Republicans, vote for Republicans.  I kind of like this idea the more I think of it.  All those folks who love voting in primaries would still get to do so, but the candidates in the general election would be more centrist, which would be better for the country.

Because what's better for the country as a whole is what should be happening in Washington, but what's better for Republicans and Democrats is what's actually happening.  Plus all those shenanigans.  How did Elizabeth Warren's ethnicity become more important that pulling out of a nuclear treaty?

My takeaways are these: I should really stop exorcising, and celebrate that moral triumph with a bowl of Doritos.  And the downhill slide from integrity and accomplishments to innuendo and opinion probably can't be stopped.  And if we work really, really hard it may take us another 73 years before we get back to leaders who take responsibility for where that buck stops.

And, by the way, I just read an article that claims that not only is breakfast not the most important meal of the day, but it can actually be bad for your diet if you are trying to lose weight.  Just wait a few years, though, and I have faith that breakfast will, all of a sudden, be a lot healthier (which will mean, of course that exorcize will become entirely unnecessary).  I wish we could say the same about Washington.

Pin It