SARGE: The Practicality Of Idealism

Years ago, while working as a callow and green EMT, I asked a resident physician why he’d chosen anesthesiology as his practice. I expected to hear, at the least, an idealistic statement of wanting to help people. Instead I got, “why the hell do you think I became a doctor? I don’t get dirty and the money’s good.” Needless to say it burst my little idealistically inflated balloon.

But, it also schooled me as to why professionals become, well, professionals. The bucks are better and there’s little manual labor. They don’t get down in the dirt like you do and sweat and haul until they die. They work “smarter” not “harder”. It’s not an indictment as much as it is a fact.

But, I didn’t start this thing to wax nostalgic or poetically. I wanted to make a statement concerning Chris Christie’s abject practicality and how that’s slowly sticking its nose outward and under the tent covering his political ambitions. With his salvo blasted across Rand Paul’s bow, Christie’s shown where he thinks people should be in reference to their political conversations.

He’s more Progressive than he ever let on before this point. And, for me, that’s throwing a javelin at my little “Christie for President” campaign balloon. While I understand he’s making a point about the 9/11 assaults and our need to maintain vigilance where security is concerned, I have a problem with his dismissal, out of hand and in a rather cavalier, self-serving manner, the protest concerning the erosion of individual rights by self-serving politicians urinating on the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

I see Rand Paul as the shadow of his father. Where the father sat on the western edge of isolationism, the concept of taking greater care in foreign policy matters (and questioning the efficacy of blindly accepting any president’s unilateral development of that foreign policy without Congressional debate) has a certain appeal. I no longer accept any one man’s partisan policy decisions as the only way to view an issue.

What bothers me about Christie’s statement is what we call: “the truths of drunk speak.” This theory, originally attributed to Jean-Jacques Rousseau, states “a drunk man speaks from a sober heart.” It means when we’re drunk we lose our inhibitions and verbalize our true and real feelings.  This can befall any politician as they rise in prominence on the political stage. They become drunk on their celebrity.

Booby Jindal showed his hubris when he derided volcano research as being wasteful and silly in a modern world. People living near Mt. St. Helens and those living in Hawaii would debate the need for research prolifically. But such is the case with people reading their own press releases and believing them to be the truth.

Enter Christie.

Christie’s been applauded for so long now he really believes he can continue to drape himself in the flag and nobody will notice he’s standing on the hemline. True, he is direct and has no problem confronting people he thinks run a race contrary to the rules he demands they follow. It doesn’t matter their rules are in the book; Christie thinks he alone can re-write the text without controversy.

The esoteric, intellectual debates are what made us America and removed us from the status of Imperial Colony of the British Crown. Debate is what sets America apart from other so-called democracies. The people are supposed to have a voice in the debate. We should be able to trust our representatives to speak in that collective voice; but now we know better they don’t. They’ve become elitist, members of a club with membership restricted to only those with sufficient wealth to pursue the job by election.

I didn’t want to believe this of Christie, but he’s no better than any of the others seeking ultimate political power. He feels he alone has the answers and berates anybody not in agreement. For him (and others) it’s a simple matter of practicality over idealism.

Practicality is important, but it’s the idealism drove this nation to write a Declaration of Independence and place in opposition to the despotic powers of petty politicians seeking godhood, the Bill of Rights.

Recognizing the first can be replicated at any time by liberty seeking people and adherence to the power of the second is what made America who we are. It wasn’t a matter of esoteric, intellectual debate.

It was a demand for idealism to become practical democracy.

Thanks for listening.

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