--Thanks to the many hundreds (I heard well over a thousand) of you who visited the Buy Local Expo last Saturday. It was truly a special day in our city. I wish I could go on more about it and relate my many special memories of the day, but I’m afraid there is serious and important work to be done this week and we had better get to it. I’ll have to put off the fun stuff for another day.
--Regular readers of our weekly writings will recall my repeated comments over the years about how “nobody is safe in Rhode Island so long as the General Assembly is in session”. Well, this is a perhaps entertaining but unfortunately true comment when you look at the petty and ill-advised laws some of our legislators introduce on behalf of constituents who want the whole world to change to their liking. But there is also another side to that coin, as there generally is. When the Rhode Island General Assembly is in session we get another chance to set things right……….IF enough of its members would take a ‘Solomon Pill’ and get the back bone to say “No.” to some of this silliness. This is not a time for silliness, this is a time for making unpopular decisions which nobody will like much, but which are needed to set the state on the road to recovery. Discipline is needed today, and when no one will do what is needed, bad things happen.
When I say ‘silliness’, I refer to introducing bills which might become laws which will do very little to decreasing the debt our state is currently under. Hey, I’m not some starry-eyed optimist who thinks politicians should not play the political game of ‘taking care of friends’ at all. No, I’d be wasting my time and my publisher’s ink if I suggested that. Doing something to please a constituent is at the very basis of our representative republic’s make-up. Each member of the General Assembly has been selected by their neighbors to go to Providence and do something which will better their neighborhood, I get it. But somebody’s got to be the ‘daddy and mommy’ and decide the serious priorities of what is in important and what can wait.
I think there is a good reason daddies and mommies are older than the children they raise. I mean, beyond the obvious. It comes to wisdom. Wisdom is that property of human behavior which is the result of life’s experiences and is the closest thing most of us have to knowing the future. Daddies and mommies have gone to school, worked in the world, established a household and are now raising a family. Children have not. Children may think they understand it all, but the very fact that they think that proves that children really do not understand very much of it.
What are the major responsibilities of a daddy and mommy? To keep the children safe and give them a chance to grow and prosper in the world. To know what behaviors or actions are going cause trouble over time, based upon their own life’s experiences, is the major asset daddies and mommies have. And the major tool daddies and mommies use to protect their children from the consequences of bad decisions is the word “No.”. Children seldom welcome the word. Most don’t understand why it is used when they hear it. And a few rebel when it denies them the pleasure of the moment they seek. Good parents know when to say, “No.” and stick by it. Poor parents either don’t say it when it is needed or change the “No.” to a “Yes” when faced with the displeasure of their children.
I’m sure you can see the point I am making with all of this. If the family cannot make ends meet financially, daddies and mommies must say “No.” to requests for vacation trips, eating out in restaurants, and the $100 pair of sneakers. It just has to be done or they know bad things happen later. In a similar way, the leaders of our state must tell the voters that there is not enough money to increase or maybe even to sustain social service programs and to also pay down our mounting debt. And debt is the crippling thing which causes states and municipalities to refrain from sanding, salting, and plowing roads during snow storms. And it is the cause of the state passing half of the bill to settle the pension funding lawsuit on to cities and towns which cannot afford to pay the bill, just to mention two decisions our debt-burdened state has had to make because years ago they failed to say “No.” when it was needed.
So, you see, folks, somebody’s got to be the daddy and mommy and set a course of behavior which will benefit everybody both today and in the future. That somebody is the leaders we have each elected from our neighborhoods and sent to Providence to do what is right for us. When our leaders refuse to say “No.” to constituent requests which distract the General Assembly from the hard work of truly balancing our state budget in a way which reduces and controls the effects of debt on ourselves and our children, they are being poor leaders.
--That’s what I think. What do you think? Comments to email@example.com or mail to Dave Richards, WOON Radio, 985 Park Avenue, Woonsocket, RI 02895-6332. Thanks for reading.