Long ago I subscribed to the maxim that "the government which governs least, governs best." However, governing just a little disappeared long ago, and if we want proof of that we can look at both parties for the last twenty years are so. It has not mattered which party was in charge, government has grown and so have the burdens from government.
I don't have an answer for government problems today, but I do want to sit back and remember that we do get substantial benefits from our system. Once in a while it does not hurt to count your blessings even when things are not going as we might hope.
We just discovered that we have a water leak between our water meter and the house. As a result I have turned off our water until the first of the week when we can get some plumbers over to find the leak.
That means we are down to running the water a few minutes a day. While that's not much of an inconvenience, it does bring back some memories.
We have lived in enough different places to have some interesting memories. In September 1973 we were living on the shores of the Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia. We had a heavy, wet, early snow. It took out the electricity. We were without power for over a week.
We got along okay because we used some kerosene lamps and our fireplace. My wife mentioned this morning she could still remember us cheering the snowplow as it arrived after that storm. We had a neighbor who figured out how to run our water pumps using his chainsaw with the blade off. It wasn't perfect, but it got us through.
I went out and bought a small generator after that, but we had moved on to New Brunswick by the time we saw the power go again for a long period of time. It was in the winter and our home there had gravity fed spring water so even with the power out, we had water just not with as much pressure.
At twenty below zero, you don't worry very much about food thawing. We had two big freezers in the shed attached to our home. We often turned them off when the temperature dropped below zero. We also had wood heat so the generator got the job of keeping a block heater going in one of the big tractors so I could feed the cows and keep the roads open.
All of that makes me appreciate modern services. Without government, we probably would not have very many. I think good schools, safe roads, and public water are important to me. I guess I have the power companies to thank for our electricity, but I won't speculate today whether the power industry does as good a job as the people who make certain that I have clean, safe water to my property.
As I hear the ridiculous ads of the political season, I know in my heart that we need some folks to govern us, and that the ones trying to stay in office aren't that much different than ones who always promise to change things for us when they get in power.
We all have a list of governmental wrongs, top on my list is what the NC insurance commission has done to the insurance rates of the coastal counties in spite of evidence that shows their decision is way out of line. Every government has some downsides. Ours might be minor compared to many others where your life is at risk.
Change brought about by government comes in fits and starts, often requiring many tweaks before things are somewhat right. With that said I have a hard time understanding people who are completely against the first steps that were recently taken in health insurance reform. What planet believes that insurance companies should be able to deny coverage for pre-existing conditions or randomly deny coverage?
Our country has a history of people voting for those whose agenda is against their own best interests. One of these days just maybe those folks will figure out that they need to pay attention to what the politicians do, not what they say.
Until then I will keep voting for those whose heart seems in the right place and whose hands are not obviously in my pocket.
I guess I can dream on before that last one comes true.