Friday, January 04, 2013

Does Not Play Well with Others

As I recall, when I was a boy in elementary school, there was a statement that sometimes occurred on someone’s report card which you had to take home and show your parents. Along with your grades in various subjects there were brief reports on your conduct. “Does not play well with others” was sometimes reported for those students who for whatever reason were disruptive and caused trouble in school, those who just did not get along well with other children. If the parents (or the teachers) could not change the behavior of such troublemakers and their disruptive behavior continued over time they could be transferred to another classroom, or, even eventually become expelled from school. The cause of their behavior was not the issue, merely their behavior. Similarly, a student who did not even intend to be disruptive might be forced out for their “bad” behavior. When I was in the second grade (yes, I can still remember this) the girl that sat at a desk immediately across from me wet her pants on a daily basis. This was very disruptive and of course I’m sure the poor girl suffered much more than her classmates, but that didn’t matter. I don’t know what happened to her but I do know she did not last long in our second grade class. Although I do not know precisely how they worked, there obviously were ways to deal with such problem children. What a pity we have no way to deal with such problem persons in Congress or other positions of power and influence.
Of course we do have a way of sorts, but it is too slow and inefficient to help very much. In fact in some cases, because of gerrymandering, it is now virtually impossible to remove certain Congresspersons no matter how extreme (or apparently “crazy”) their behavior. Having to wait for the next election to remove someone from office can lead to closing the door after the damage has already been done. I do not wish to name specific individuals but there is no doubt that we have some Congresspersons who for whatever reason are so extreme in their views as to be broadly conceived as way “too far out,” or even perhaps insane. Of course nowadays it is difficult to know whether someone is being paid to act crazy on certain issues (guns or oil or climate or drugs or evolution, for example) or whether they might actually be crazy.
Unfortunately, it seems we have at the moment quite a number of those who do not play well with others.  For example, when 98% of the world’s scientists agree on global warming, probably the single most frightening thing for human life, and there are still those who refuse to believe it, you know you are dealing with the truly deranged, “crazies,” “weirdos,” “religious nut cases,” or perhaps those who are willing to say anything if the money is right. For those who insist on believing the earth is only 6000 years old and people lived contemporaneously with dinosaurs I doubt the money has much to do with it (but I wouldn’t completely rule it out in all cases). Those individuals who simply reject science entirely are truly out of touch and have no business in office and should be expelled forthwith.
This is not to suggest people should not, or cannot have different opinions on important matters. But they should at least have some acceptable evidence or cogent argument for their positions. “The bible says…,” “It’s God’s will…,”  “My mother told me…,” or simply “I believe…,” do not constitute reasonable arguments for nonsensical beliefs that might well have harmful effects on others or the earth.
There are also those who make pronouncements about things that simply have no basis in fact. “Birthers” would fall under this category. “There are 78 or 80 members of the communist party among the Democratic caucus” would also have to be seen as simply nonsense. The problem with this category of apparent lunatics is simply that you can suspect they are making these claims for purely political points, or perhaps just to draw attention to themselves, but you know at the same time they are really stupid even for those reasons. I’m sure there will always be those who do not play well with others. When it comes to government and matters of critical importance to us all there should be quicker and more efficient mechanisms for getting rid of them. Why must we listen to the babbling of idiots for years before there is even any chance to be rid of them? The fact that such people can live and thrive in our government for years before any action can be taken is, I think, a basic flaw in our system. Yes, I know, there is also impeachment, but how often have you ever seen anyone successfully impeached (and I assure you we have some who should have been impeached long ago).  

No comments: