03 October 2013

This Amazing Political Secret Could Lower Your Blood Pressure and Cause Children to Like You

It was late in life before I had a blinding flash of the obvious: I'm just one of about 300 million people in this country and I ought to be amazed and delighted whenever the federal government does anything I approve of.

I think that one of the big problems in DC right now is that we have Congresspeople unclear on a simple fact: each representative only represents about 0.2% (that's not 20% or 2% but pt-2%) of the country. And then the House of Representative has to reconcile any legislation with the Senate. And the president could veto legislation even if the Senate and the House concur. A congressperson is not at all powerful. And of course that means his or her constituents are even less so.

The folks back home in West Texas or Marin County don't want to hear that they are unlikely to get what they want in life. So anyone who wants their vote has to tell them - perhaps even believe - that they can make a difference. 

Actually, the odds are pretty high they won't. And that little truth is something we struggle to accept. So we send off plane loads of cynics and dreamers to DC. The cynics know they have little or no influence but would never admit it; the dreamers think they do.

But trust me on this when I say that embracing the fact that you're powerless will actually lower your blood pressure. It does mine. The truth is that you aren't most people. You're unique. Nobody is quite like you. And because of that, it's going to be rare that the folks in Washington are doing just what you think they ought to be doing because they're trying to please everybody who, as we pointed out earlier in this paragraph, you aren't. 

So, instead of feeling incredulous about the fact that those idiots in DC are starting an invasion of Iraq or offering healthcare to everyone as if it were as affordable as social security numbers, just remember: you're outnumbered 312 million to one. Of course they're doing something you don't agree with. In fact, it's a wonder that you aren't continually outraged. For that reason alone you ought to look at the rare occasions when policy and you line up as if you'd just won at the slot machines. Even with odds that high against you, you still win from time to time. That ought to put some swagger in your walk as you head into the voting booth.

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