Sunday, August 10, 2008

Corn Flakes

Someone sent us an e-mail containing a picture of a box of Kellogg’s corn flakes with pictures of many of the recent political contenders on the front. The label said, “Same old CORN different FLAKES with more added NUTS this time.” Oh boy! How true!

Someone asks every so often why we can have 50 contestants for Miss American and only two—maybe three—presidential candidates. After listening to some of the remarks made by various political candidates, I am not too sure, but I do believe the Miss America contestants would be just about as capable as some of the candidates. How sad.

My parents were astounded that one candidate has rounded up 90 million dollars this year for his campaign. That’s pretty big money—even in Texas. And then the parents started sniffing around to see if they could find the major funding source. Well, I don’t believe everything I read on the Internet, and there probably isn’t any law that says that people outside the USA can’t contribute to our candidates. Still, at least one candidate probably won’t be getting any funding from the Middle East.

Somehow our country needs to come up with a better plan for finding qualified people to fill positions of responsibility. If we had a draft system for Congress instead of these impressive pay packages and perks, I suspect that we would find ourselves with an entirely new generation of “draft dodgers”! If every lawyer had to spend two years serving in the criminal justice system or in a court where nothing except stupid lawsuits were heard, we might have lawyers with an entirely new outlook on law.

The same technique that is sometimes used to make alcohol distasteful to alcoholics might work for people in other situations. For instance, all these egotistical doctors who think that they know it all should spend at least two years as bedpan jockeys on rotation in mental hospitals, rest homes, and in rural hospitals. Each principal should spend two years teaching a semester each in pre-K, junior high, high school, and one of the “alternate” education sites for juvenile offenders.

Some of the high schools have a program that supplies babies—or something as delicate as a baby—for students to carry around for six weeks. The really sophisticated “babies” have to be changed, fed, and put to sleep and record those interactions. But whether it is an egg or a five-pound sack of flour that the kids carry around, it just doesn’t really prepare them for that nine-month pregnancy, morning sickness, child birth, and sleepless nights. About two summers working in a day care center should help them learn the ropes—and some of the responsibilities that go with parenting.

We might as well take this idea to another level: people who want pets should have to work at least six months in a local shelter for homeless dogs, cats, and other animals. Let us think, too, about bankers and others who extend credit to people who cannot possibly ever pay back loans. Could creditors be licensed only after they have worked in a homeless shelter for six months?

Oh, teaching people to be responsible for themselves isn’t going to happen in any of these ways. And we will keep on getting “leaders” who lack much of what one old neighbor used to call “gumption.” America developed a strong will in people who were already intent on making their own way. No one person was responsible for building this nation, and no one person can lead or change an entire nation. We will probably keep having a few flakes sprinkled around for another four years or so. But when we get tired of corn and flakes, maybe we will find someone with a bit more gumption to help this country find its source of common sense again. Shucks (another corn pun ;-), I still like Mitt Romney.

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