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Shakespeare or shake-down?

August 4, 2014

Shakespeare was a wonderful playwright, but even Shakespearean theater loses something when performed by unskilled amateurs or satirized by detractors.

That’s kind of where we are with government in America today. We have far too much government and far too little governance.

Watching Washington at work today is like watching undisciplined six-year-olds performing Othello or A Midsummer’s Night Dream.

The kids may be able to master the words, but the emotion, artistry and historical context behind the words is lost on them. They cannot communicate those nuances because they don’t understand them. Their attempts are not so much performances as they are reading exercises.

That analogy applies to the current cast of characters in our capital. They can read the words of the Constitution, but its meaning is totally beyond them.

The President whines that Congress gets nothing done, and then states flatly that no matter what they pass, unless it’s everything he wanted he isn’t going to sign it.

Somehow, “my way or the highway” wouldn’t seem to be a good leadership strategy, and it hasn’t proven to be effective so far. It becomes more of a shake-down than Shakespeare.

No matter how compelling the actor’s performance is in the lead role,  the play doesn’t work without the supporting cast. In our country that supporting cast is supposed to be the legislative branch, not the political parties.

If your only exposure to Shakespeare was a first grade play, you might have doubts about his prowess as a playwright.

Likewise, if the founders of our country were to come back to the White House and the halls of Congress today, they might be forgiven for thinking they were in the wrong country.

Watching this cast of characters attempt to sell their performance as a version of democracy is just painful.

At some point we have to stop thinking of elections as casting calls and the business of governing as an afternoon matinee for our casual entertainment.

If we continue to elect our official representatives and presidents for their star power and treat elections as advance ticket sales to a performance, none of us will be living in America.

From → op-ed

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