Since I have been officially declared old by the federal government (Social Security and Medicare) I can recall when our government actually had a budget for each fiscal year. You know, the period which runs from October 1 of one year to September 30 of the next year. At least that is how it was back in the good old days under Bill Clinton. That is the way it is in the world of Fire District #2 in good old Howell Township,New Jersey. If we do not have a budget in place, we cannot spend money and we get smacked around by the state. But apparently there are no such similar penalties for the 'Gang of 535' in Washington,DC.
I wonder if you know that we have been running on a number of continuing resolutions for many years now. Oh, the President introduces a budget. We have heard and read about that. We have also seen how the folks in the House of Representatives and the Senate scoff at it and then toss a few rocks at it. Then Congress proposes their budgets in the House and Senate. Then they all proceed to do nothing: Nothing that is except to yell at each other, blame each other for the mess, and then create our dear friend Sylvester Sequester.
It seems to me that our current crop of politicians is far more interested in staying in office than in governing fairly or wisely. Why else would you see such a wide array of single issue, stubborn, pig-headed, 'my-way-or-the-highway' people in the House and Senate? What ever happened to the basic element of political compromise upon which so much of our great nation has been built?
Sadly, the trends which we see at the national level are also on display for all to see at the state, county, and local levels. Let me suggest that the manner in which my fire district operates could serve as an example for others to follow. As Chairman of the Board of Fire Commissioners, it is my job to bring about consensus among our five-member board
Of course it might be a bit easier for me, given the similarity among the backgrounds of our board members. All five of us are life members and ex-chiefs of the Adelphia Fire Company which provides fire protection for our district under a continuing contractual arrangement. This means that all of us know the difficulties of leading and operating a volunteer fire department.
It also means that we each have more than 25 years' service in the fire company. We have a shared background. However, each of us is an individual and our backgrounds differ. Our view of the world is different and we see things from our own particular personal perspectives. They key to success in mu mind is to draw out each individual's position and work to blend them together into a compromise which is good for the group and good for the fire district.
As a student in high school, I can remember the rants and raves of the head of a communist Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). I can recall Nikita Krushchev bellowing at the top of his lungs that his country was going to bury us. Many of the citizens of America scoffed at the time scoffed at the nerve of the man. As time has played out, perhaps he was right. I can recall a newsman of the day suggesting that the USSR was going to bury us with our own shovel.
Ladies and gentlemen, the shovel-makers are at work in Washington, DC and Sylvester Sequester is the name of that shovel. Let me suggest that perhaps the time has come to clean house. I hold out little hope of this though, because each of us thinks our Congressperson is fine, but it is the rest of them that are all screwed up. Rest assured that I hold no similar love for the two Senators from the Great Garden State. Those two folks could be replaced by a pair of firehouse mops and we would all be the better for the effort. If it seems to you that I have been just a bit cynical and dismissive, then you have been reading my words carefully indeed.
My friends, we need to wake up before it is too late. I will be back next time around with a message for you that tells you the tale of my pilgrimage to Washington. Wish me luck. I would hate to become a drowning victim in the sea of BS that is known as Sodomon the Potomac. More to follow.