What followed was a political diatribe using vegetables as euphemisms and discussing things that are wrong with the way things are done in this country. I later followed up that thread with a conversation with that same friend, in which we both discussed what we would do if we were put in charge of running the country.
I’m sure everyone has their own ideas of how to make things better, and most people, regardless of what political party they affiliate with, agree that the government screws up a lot of things. One thing in particular that came up in our discussion was welfare. Now, before anyone gets upset and calls me a baby-hater and talks about how I don’t want low-income families to have their needs met, let me clarify: I’m not against welfare. However, I do think the welfare program itself is run poorly. In many cases, people receive far more help from the private sector. Private institutions, in particular religious organizations, run more of the shelters, food banks, and other practical sources of help than the government. And, as a whole, they are run more efficiently and with more caring than government institutions. The goodness of people and their willingness to give for a cause, especially a cause they believe in like helping the needy, far outweighs bureaucracy.
Another thing we discussed was the two-party system. Most people I talk to, on both sides of the party lines, think things could be better. I keep waiting for the year when we as a nation are so fed up with the two-party mud-slinging and hate-mongering that we’re willing to seriously consider a third-party candidate. Neither political party is what it was fifty or even twenty-five years ago. The ideals that the parties originally stood for are so far buried beneath political double-speak that what they are now is totally unrecognizable. Unfortunately, we often believe what we are told by people (and media outlets) we trust, and we are afraid to step into the unknown and take a risk on something new.
There are dozens of other things I’d do differently than the government. The budget (wouldn’t we all?). Taxes. Foreign policies. Teachers salaries. Congress’ salaries. I could go on and on. And I suspect most people have their own opinions of all the things they would do differently if they were in charge, as well. But since they didn’t put me in charge (yet), at least I can educate myself and form my opinions based on facts and common sense and the way things work in the real world, not just based on what some political celebrity told me to believe.