My July 4th Thoughts

Legislative gridlock creates problems because events that logically should be avoided hit the precipice before a deal is worked out to prevent a catastrophe. The media portrays the cause of this state of affairs as due to partisanship or incompetence, which while either may be true, what makes me more nervous are politicians claiming a mandate. Winning an election by less than a majority or even somewhat more than half does not a mandate make. No one opposing you also does not give you a mandate. Win 66% or more? OK, twice as many people like your ideas than all other candidates combined. They have given you a mandate.

Even worse is a whole party assuming control of the House, Senate, and President of the United States. Yes, they can push through legislation that solves the party agenda, but this stuff ends up riddled with problems. Handouts to keep blackmailers in line. Unforeseen consequences. Bills written in secret and only unveiled where few have the needed time to read it much less comprehend every nuance. The opponents may actually have legitimate points which get ignored because they are on the wrong side.

Learning from their opponents is something this country needs more of its politicians. A quote I liked from The Virtues of Political Disagreement:

… It remains true that very different perspectives and ideologies, pursuing their own agendas, have often provided fundamental insights for their rivals. A striking example is the way social democrats supporting a secular welfare state have learned from both free-market economists and from religious organizations how to improve the delivery of social services. Similarly, feminist insights have helped conservatives rethink their views of the family.

Of course, the Affordable Care Act represents something of this. The model for it was a Republican idea as an alternative to Clinton’s health care reform plans. A Republican governor and Democrat legislature implemented that model in Massachusetts. The final bill was riddled with other things on top. Some of them are still being fought out or implemented. The more rabid of the Democrats hate this bill because it is not Single Payer, what Clinton hoped to pass. That creates a weird dynamic where Republicans and Democrats agree.

Review: Born with Teeth: A Memoir

Born with Teeth: A Memoir
Born with Teeth: A Memoir by Kate Mulgrew
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

OK. I am a total Star Trek nerd. Next Generation definitely is my favorite, but I really enjoyed her as Captain Janeway on ST: Voyager. So I was intrigued to read about Kate’s life off screen. My usual problem causing me to avoid memoirs in favor of biographies is the glossing over the rawness of real life. Every negative encounter turns out to have a silver lining. Some of that is in here, but I did appreciate being allowed into the messiness that is real life.

Orange Is the New Black fans should note she abruptly stops the memoir around 1999. Though, really, this backstory to the actress explains for me how she approached her character “Red” on the show.

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