"The politics that swept him into the speakership were good for a midterm election; they're tough for governing." - Barack Obama (Press Conference 7/11/2011)
Tough for governing. Hmmmm.... What exactly does that mean? What exactly does "govern" mean?
According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary Online:
Definition of GOVERN
1 a : to exercise continuous sovereign authority over; especially : to control and direct the making and administration of policy in b : to rule without sovereign power and usually without having the authority to determine basic policy
2 a archaic : manipulate b : to control the speed of (as a machine) especially by automatic means
3 a : to control, direct, or strongly influence the actions and conduct of b : to exert a determining or guiding influence in or over <income must="">govern expenditure> c : to hold in check : restrain</income>
4 : to require (a word) to be in a certain case
5 : to serve as a precedent or deciding principle for <customs that="">govern human decisions></customs>
In essence, in the context in which the president used the word, governing would seem to mean to control us, or to make the policies that would control us and our behavior.
Not to make too fine a point of it, Mr. President, but I'm pretty sure the American people don't really want to be governed. Our Constitution set up a framework within which we are supposed to be free to govern ourselves. What we really would like is for our government to leave us alone and allow us to do that.
Of course, to allow Americans some semblance of real self-government would mean back-tracking a lot of distance, in a whole lot of ways. It would mean that 545 people who currently do their work in Washington, D.C. would be required to relinquish a lot of power. It would mean allowing parents to make the decisions regarding their children's education. It would mean allowing adults to make their own decisions about whether or not they want to spend their money purchasing health care insurance. It would mean allowing working Americans to decide for themselves how and where they would like to invest their retirement funds.
It would mean too many changes in mindset to enumerate here, but you get the idea. Self-government doesn't mean voting for who you want to make decisions for you. It means making decisions for yourself, and living with the consequences of those decisions. The question is, will Washington (and the several states) allow us to do it? And, are we prepared for it?
Only time will tell.
**Blogger's note: This was written by Cheryl Thompson. A personal friend, reprinted with her permission**
Also trying to get her to start her own blog, so tell me what you think. :) Thank you!