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Context Florida: Ed Moore: ‘Throwing the bums out’ feels good, but it’s lazy

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

It struck me as I was buying my morning Diet Coke at the Quick-Stop today. Spreading like kudzu is the sentiment “THROW THEM ALL OUT!”

I have been hearing this increasingly from friends, colleagues, people in grocery stores, social media postings, and now the guy who takes my money every morning when I buy my icy cold drink. As my good friend Bill Cotterell says, “Throw the bums out feels good, but it’s lazy.”

Bill was responding to my Facebook post urging a more serious interaction other than voters throwing every elected member of Congress out of office. I posted in part out of frustration with the dialogue I was seeing and in part hoping to stimulate worthwhile discussion.

Does this unrest represent serious dissatisfaction? My assessment is that yes, we are witnessing true dissatisfaction.

The last presidential election where a major change occurred was in 2008. It was all about hope and change.

There’s been change, but much of it has not been good. But “throwing them all out” and thinking that solves anything is foolhardy.

I fear the tyranny of the majority (as did our Founders) a lot more than I do those who speak out and temporarily seek to disrupt the process.

This too shall pass — maybe with both sides accepting the need to communicate and adjust. Unlike most, I am not aghast at this Congressional budget impasse. I find nothing wrong in people, even elected officials, standing firm for their beliefs and challenging leaders when they do not agree with the status quo.

Frankly, there is much more to fear when there is complete unity in government. The world is filled with regimes where there is no vocal or effective minority.

In Federalist No. 10, an essay by James Madison, he wrote about the need to constrain the majority, knowing that the real danger lies in a homogenous majority with absolute power.

We ask our politicians to take courageous actions, but we then often complain when they do.

What would you have them do? Agree to take more from the taxpayers — building bigger and more intrusive government? Concentrate power in the hands of a few?

Voters should find candidates who believe in something and then hold them accountable to those beliefs.

We have a term-limiting device every two years. It just doesn’t get used much. Pick a point of view that best fits where you stand and then support those who will fight for those positions. Either that or file to run yourself if you have the passion and fortitude.

But don’t just conclude that we should “throw the bums out.”

That is as bad as voting for someone who promises undefined change, but offers little by way of experience or real solutions.

We live in a complex society. Support candidates with the experience and knowledge to deal effectively with those complexities.

Study the issues and work hard for what you believe in. Don’t take the lazy route. It likely will just make matters worse.

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