The Norman Transcript


January 5, 2013

Time to stop the stopwatch



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.

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