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Close the light and turn off the door

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Published on: Thursday, May 16, 2013

By Brian J. Karem

Sometimes when I’m asleep and suddenly I wake up, I’m prone to say the most inane things. Just this morning I urged my son to close the light and turn off the door.

When I was cogent, had my morning coffee and finally woke up I realized I had uttered a malapropism equivalent to Ringo Starr’s “Hard Day’s Night.” I laughed and began reviewing the stories we’ve covered this week and then I came across the protest held this weekend against the Democrats by organized labor.

Someone accused local democrats of “abandoning” the progressive agenda and local organized labor.

The local Democrats, according to the labor leaders are becoming too much like Republicans.

I wondered what Universe these labor leaders inhabit when I finally figured out they, like me, just were jostled awake too quickly and made a horrible, but understandable mistake.

There is very little empirical evidence to suggest, let alone convict local Democrats of abandoning the democratic cause for staunch republican values – whatever those may be. There is growing evidence that local labor may be off its rocker and out in left field – but let’s not even go there. Let’s instead visit the very heart of this matter – democratic and republican values.

I can tell you by anecdotal evidence only some very liberal Democrats in Montgomery County believe the county and state governments are too far to the left – and that’s saying quite a bit. One of my best friends, a lifelong liberal Democrat whose father once served in office said this very thing not more than a few days ago. Never mind what the few Republicans still living in this county believe.

So, should people look to government to solve their problems? Should we ask the government to help us through our dark hours? Should we give of ourselves to help out others? Should we embrace a larger government or a smaller government? Should we embrace rights for everyone, or should some be cut out of the pie? Just what constitutes a good democratic and good republican value?

The simple fact is we knee-jerk react to everything under a cloud of “right wing” or “left wing” values and rarely do we consider what values we’re espousing or supporting.

Think for a second of the statement “The government governs best which governs least.” Someone running for office this week incorrectly attributed this statement to Ronald Wilson Reagan. While the great mis-communicator may have said this – and he was notorious for stealing other people’s lines – this sentiment goes back to the very beginning of our republic.

Our founding fathers espoused very similar sentiments – including Thomas Jefferson.

What about “Ask not what your country can do for you, but ask what you can do for your country?” Nope. That wasn’t Reagan either. That was John F. Kennedy, but I’ll be knee deep in coffee beans if I can find anyone in the Democratic Party who would actually give more than lip service to that sentiment today.

Bailouts and entitlements borne on the back of the ever shrinking middle class are paying the freight today – and we’re about broke. The only middle class left are those members who depend on government to survive.

I support teachers, police officers and other civil servants – but there are many who question whether those civil servants should have better health care, free cell phones and better retirement packages than those who generate revenue with the sweat of their brow and by owning and operating their own companies.

It is estimated the protest this weekend kept some 100 people from attending the democratic function the labor protesters waged war against. I for one was taught never to cross a picket line, so I empathize with those who refused to attend the function – but I also agree with those who did attend the event.

Is local labor out of control? Maybe. Are local politicians slowly drifting to the right away from their core progressive values? Well if they are I surmise the continents and glaciers drift more swiftly.

The more I think about it, the more convinced I am the labor leaders merely misspoke – or suffered from what my kids call brain flatulence. You know – like close the light and turn off the door.

It makes as much sense.

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