2009-12-31 / Sam Bari

If I were president, I would...

You can’t beat a system you can’t understand
By Sam Bari

Welcome to the last day of the year. This is a time traditionally spent reflecting, looking at the year gone by, as well as years in the past, in an effort to help us prepare for tomorrow – the beginning of the future.

According to statistics, not much is going to change. If we look at the big picture, other than in technologies, we as a species have progressed very little from year to year. As an example, let’s look at the politics in our beloved country.

The GOP has always hated the Democrats and vice versa. In today’s political arena, when business is good and everyone appears to be prospering, the opposing party accuses the incumbents of creating a false economy that will end in an irreversible tailspin.

When the economy collapses, fingers are pointed in every direction, parties switch positions and the new management team blames the previous administration for the country’s woes. Sound familiar? I thought it would. We have repeatedly played that same scenario with little change in even the dialogue.

Crises are given different names, but when described, they are the same crises as they always have been. Inflation, unemployment, crime, inadequate health care, expensive insurance, unfair labor practices, sexism, racism, inequality in the education system and senseless warfare are but a few of the topics that hold prominent positions in our daily conversations.

At least a few of these categories are areas of concern in all of our lives. Despite these seemingly unsolvable issues, we get up in the morning and put food on the table one way or another as we complain about our sorry existence throughout each day.

History tells us that no matter how many wars are going on, oil does not stop flowing and commerce continues with barely a hiccup in the business system. Amazing how one seems to support the other when logic says that the two together should selfdestruct.

The point is – we like to complain.

Even though, as a society, we live better than the rest of the world combined, we enjoy ranting about our elected officials not behaving the way we would like. We are also quick to let the world know that we are not getting our fair share of the American pie.

In other words, everybody wants their way, and they want more of the wealth. Some wise person in history once said, “Give a country what it wants and it will always want more.”

Anyway, let’s assume that our government is not doing an adequate job and we are not living the way we would like because of mismanagement. Let’s just say that is blatantly obvious and true.

Now the big question: What are we going to do about it?

Go to the person you know who is the most bitter complainer about the way our country is run and ask him or her, “If you were president, what would you do?”

Most of the time, you will be met with a blank stare because those bitter complainers are unhappy with one issue that has adversely affected their lives and they do not have a solution for fixing it. Those who do have a solution generally recommend something that is self-serving and not for the greater good.

Nonetheless, if you are president, you don’t get to pick one issue, solve it and call it a day. What about all the other issues that adversely affect everyone else? Ask your complainer about those.

You’ll get a lot of stuttering, stammering and blustering, but you won’t get any answers. Trust me on that one. I’ve tried. The person being questioned often gets angry because they have been exposed. They haven’t the foggiest idea what they would do if they were president.

Few of us are qualified to understand the complexities of the problems that plague any government, not just ours. Unrest is rampant around the globe. There are certainly issues that our government has, in my opinion, handled poorly. But I assure you that I do not have better solutions.

If anyone has solutions to important issues, contact your representatives in Congress. If your ideas are valid, I am certain they would welcome the input.

To start the New Year, let’s all be thankful that, with impunity, we have the right to complain to our hearts’ content about living in a system that we can’t understand, whether we have solutions or not.

That right is precious.

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