The Norman Transcript

Columns

January 5, 2013

Time to stop the stopwatch

(Continued)

NORMAN —

Speaking privileges will be taken away until he or she promises to play nice.

The problem is that at any given time, just about all of these delinquents would be stuck in Quiet Time Detention Hall, so all we’d hear on C-Span would be silence. Come to think of it, maybe that isn’t a problem.

The serious point is that time is running out on so many of the problems we elected these people to solve. They can’t duck them forever. This little game of chicken that they play — waiting till the last instant before they sidestep and create some very temporary fix — does nothing to halt the erosion in trust that wears away at our whole society.

A democracy, by definition, flourishes with the consent of the governed. The disgust of the governed just doesn’t cut it. But that’s the sad state of mind these days. Far too many believe our “Shining City on the Hill” has been tarnished. The time has come, as President Barack Obama put it, to operate “with a little less drama.”

They need to replace self-serving with public service, and put a stop to all the ambition and outright corruption. Our leaders can’t simply follow the whims of the highest specialinterest bidder if they are going to make the hard decisions necessary to set the nation back on course.

Not only must they grapple with our crippling fiscal problems but also the societal one. The time is now, for instance, to see if all the expressions of horror over the shootings in Newtown, Conn., will translate into action on guns, as opposed to platitudes.

That’s just one issue; there is a tangle of others that fundamentally affect our quality of life as well as America’s place in the world. In fact, maybe those of us in media need to do a better job.

Gimmicks like those countdown clocks are no substitute for meaningful discussion. In fact, they get in the way.

Bob Franken, © 2013, Distributed by King Features Syndicate Inc.

For local news and more, subscribe to The Norman Transcript Smart Edition, or our print edition.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Columns
  • Congress should close gaps

    Of all of Edward Snowden’s revelations about electronic surveillance by the National Security Agency, the most unsettling was that the government was accumulating vast numbers of records about the telephone calls of American citizens. In ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Border obsession overlooks trade

    Texas Gov. Rick Perry made headlines recently by ordering 1,000 National Guard troops to the border. This bravado comes at a price: $12 million a month. Perry plans to send the bill the federal government. That’s one way to finance your ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Intercession badly needed in this world

    Yesterday was my feast day, or as the Italians call it, my “onomastico.” Since I live in the United States, it went completely unnoticed. If I lived in Italy, however, I would have been showered with cards and phone calls. That’s because ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Porch leap looked muchbigger as a kid

    It’s no secret that porch designs have changed over the years. Drive through new Norman developments and look at the porches. Most only have room for a potted plant and a spot to drop those UPS packages, no place for a porch swing or ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Keeping the war buried

    International outrage over the downing of a Malaysian passenger plane over Ukraine on July 17 does not appear to have affected either the actions of pro-Russia forces in that country or the material support Russia is offering the rebels. ...

    July 26, 2014

  • Gaza’s victims: civilians and peace

    After more than two weeks of fighting between Hamas and Israel, there is no question which side has the upper hand. Thursday’s strike on a U.N.-run school for Palestinian children increased the Palestinian death toll to more than 760. By ...

    July 26, 2014

  • Norman Forward builds momentum

    The quiet campaign to build momentum for a citywide public works project is beginning to attract some attention....

    July 20, 2014

  • Tax those trees out of here

    I read your editorial “Pesky red cedars” in the Norman Transcript of Tuesday, July 15, 2014. I have attended two meetings where the problem of the eastern red cedar trees was discussed. Because of the drought conditions in Oklahoma, we ...

    July 20, 2014

  • Make gun safety a health issue

    Quick, are you more likely to die by a bullet or in a car crash? Common sense would seem to suggest the latter. Cars are everywhere. We are an auto-obsessed nation. To be American is to drive — everywhere. Teenagers itch to get behind the ...

    July 20, 2014

  • They just want to be free ... maybe

    Massoud Barzani, president of Iraq’s semiautonomous Kurdistan region, rattled many cages this month when he announced in parliament that the KRG would be moving ahead soon on a referendum on independence from Iraq. If Kurdistan goes ahead ...

    July 20, 2014