Publication Date 8-10-17

I went bowling over the weekend and the experience caused me to worry about Washington DC.

Let me explain.

We had a trio of grandchildren at our place for a couple of days and decided to take them bowling. I haven’t bowled in at least ten years - maybe twenty. The fact that I can’t remember what decade it was when I last bowled might indicate how seriously I take the sport. Even in my prime I wasn’t a very good bowler and my prime is a little bit in my rear view mirror. 

That’s not true. My prime isn’t in my rear view mirror; it’s a half-day’s drive on an interstate behind me. Never the less, I still anticipated a respectable showing.

Turns out I was awful. Really bad. Worst score I’ve ever gotten, including the first time I bowled when I was nine.

I remembered how to bowl, but with my one more or less unbendable knee, I simply couldn’t perform. I could exhibit perfect form, right up until I did the bent-knee-slidey thing. Then I’d make a muffled noise/curse and the ball would go in any one of several directions. Luckily, it was the middle of the afternoon, so there were no witnesses. With witnesses I would have had to slink into the locker room and perish from shame.

Not only was I trounced by my wife, I was also shown up by three kids whose general style was to stand at the line and hurl the ball down the alley with both hands. 

I could have done that, too. I could have stood at the line, then leaned over and rolled the ball between my legs, kind of like a guy in the 50’s shooting free throws. I might not have looked good, but I would have accomplished the mission.

It made me think of the actor, Fernando Lamas, who once told Johnny Carson, “I’d rather look good than feel good.”

And that’s why my pathetic bowling performance made me worry that we’ll never see any actual progress come out of Washington. 

Right now in Washington, one party is in complete control. Presidency, House, Senate, Supreme Court…they ran the table. Yet they can’t seem to get anything done.

Granted, that’s not all bad. I’m a relatively liberal guy, so a genuinely competent conservative administration would mean too many decisions of which I’d disapprove. 

Some things in this world have very little to do with ideology. The Middle East and Afghanistan are still a mess. Fixing the mess is not within the power of the United States; the people who live there need to do that. But due to decisions we’ve made over the last century or so, a lot of our people are stuck in the middle. And every American wants them safe and feeling like they accomplished something.  Our infrastructure needs a lot of work and while there are several ways to go about that, whether it is by raising taxes or toll roads, I think most Americans just want to see something done. I don’t know much about tax systems, but people I respect who do know say ours is a mess and needs reform. We need to stabilize the funding for Social Security and Medicare, because the oldest baby boomers are now seventy and they’re going to need a lot of support for the next thirty years or so. It turns out America doesn’t really want the Affordable Care Act repealed, but they do want it fixed and that’s entirely possible. 

All this stuff to do and it seems like the party in charge has some sort of death wish, some sort of alternative universe they’d prefer to inhabit. It seems like they’d rather look good than do real work, rather talk philosophy instead of practicality.

The fact that my body is apparently too stubborn to accept reality doesn’t mean much. On the other hand, one of the two major political parties in the United States of America declining to deal with reality is kind of a thing.

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