I sat in B23 at Midway last night for an hour and a half before my flight took off… because the L surprised me with its speed in transportation (a first). During that time, Congress voted to re-open the government. So during the last 30 seconds of voting, a small crowd stood and gathered around the TV screen to see if the House would pass the bill, too.
It did. I’m happy that government workers will be able to get back to work. I wouldn’t enjoy being forced out of work without pay, so even though I’m thoroughly dissatisfied with our government as a whole, I can’t be so petty as to extend that dislike to the government’s employees.
Let’s talk about why I’m dissatisfied with the government. What is the government’s function anyways? What are they supposed to be doing? Is it arguing to no end about whether or not we should continue to spend money that we don’t have? (See: this hilarious and close-to-home SNL skit) Why did we elect representatives in the first place?
I had this crazy notion when I joined the voter population last fall that I had the power to elect representatives who cared about the same things that I cared about – or at least similar ones. I had this insane idea that government employees were responsible enough to manage the power and responsibility we’ve given them.
I’m probably an idealistic teenager who will eventually become hardened to the idea that governments can be nothing but corrupt, people will push their own agendas when they have the power to do so regardless of consequences, and Washington is no place for honest people who actually want to make a difference. Also, term limits will never happen, and when you call your representatives, it doesn’t do anything.
But I have this idea that we’re really missing the point of government with this whole body of people we’ve got that we call Congress. Isn’t the purpose of a good, just federal government to provide the infrastructure necessary for the state governments to be united and take care of the people in their constituency based on their most pressing needs? Wasn’t the idea with federalism that the federal government is needed, but there had to be a government closer to the people so that they didn’t forget what the people needed?
I’m pretty sure this isn’t what our founding fathers had in mind. Maybe they had the idea wrong, too, but we’re so far away from being the dreamland we make ourselves out to be that I can’t help but wonder if their ideas would be better.
Speaking of dreamland, I have a few dreams: I dream of a government where leadership means service, not power. I dream of a system that lives within its means, like any normal human being should. I dream of a government where my representatives know who I am and what I care about. I dream of an educated population who elects their representatives based on the content of their character rather than their charisma or inflated promises. I dream of a government who protects its people and their rights rather than sticks their noses into every single aspect of their lives.
Ah, I dream of reform.