The government is an unfaithful partner
1 min read

The government is an unfaithful partner

And, time and again, both sides are broken against the wheel of how government usually acts: Arbitrarily, without nuance, and, virtually always, in a manner that reflects the self-interest of those in power.
Barber, Parkville, MO, 2010

A lot of tears and rage across the land today. Cynicism and I-told-you-sos aren't attractive at the best time times , but it's particularly bad form when people think closely held ideals are eroding before their very eyes.

So no punditry about justice or injustice. But I can't help but see a pattern -- and, at least for me, a lesson.

The pattern: Right or wrong, what a lot of people are feeling today is a fellow traveler to the feelings of unfairness and shut-out-ness many who voted for Trump felt over the years.

I know, I know: This is different, it's about The Republic(tm), and what the hell did Trump supporters have to complain about, etc.

That's not the point. My point is feelings drive actions a lot more than facts ever do.

And that gets me to the lesson -- as I said, at least for me.

Both sides, in their own way, expect government to be something noble, high minded and capable of principled action when those principles happen to suit their priorities. Liberals like to believe in a government that can solve for the fragility of human circumstance; conservatives want a government that can serve as a moral shield.

And, time and again, both sides are broken against the wheel of how government usually acts: Arbitrarily, without nuance and, virtually always, in a manner that reflects the self-interest of those in power.

The lesson isn't he's-wrong/they're-right. The lesson is that our government (or, if you want to be a little less cynical, the governing class), for all the good it does and is capable of doing, is a selfish and unfaithful partner with the public it serves, generally more interested in its priorities than yours.

So maybe we shouldn't count on it as much.

A final thought: If you are celebrating today's Senate maneuvers, spare some empathy for those deeply aggrieved because, in a month or a year or a decade, it's likely the shoe will be on the other foot.