So...who's it gonna be?

Monday nights were always my night with my kids when they were younger.

Mac & cheese, that week’s episode of ALF, probably McGyver and then some Monday Night Football if it was on.

My daughter is four years older than my son, and when they were, say 8 and 4, she was far more sophisticated in tormenting her brother than he was at responding.

But, as I am five years older than my brother, I kinda knew her game plan.

I tell you this because I would separate them in my tiny apartment and continue to tell them they needed to get along.

“Somebody had to be nice first,” I said to them.

“But she…”

“But he…”

Somebody has to be nice first.

It’s really a basic human principle, right? Be nice to others and they may be nice to you or to someone else.

I thought back on  those evenings 30 years ago as I was reading about the constant fight among our elected officials.

He did this and she did that and so on. Are they all so far gone? So jaded that they can’t find the common ground of decency to behave better?

How can reasonably intelligent people see the exact same thing take place and come out with diametrically opposing viewpoints?

Seriously, we as citizens deserve more than we are getting from our representation.

Ben Chase’s column last week about the….inconsistencies in statements made by Governor Kristi Noem led to someone I know and respect to reach out and say, in essence, “He really zinged her!”

I chuckled to myself and replied that it wasn’t so much a ‘zing’ as it was holding Gov. Noem accountable.
With the facts of what she had said.

It is our duty — not ‘ours’ the newspaper, but ‘ours’ the voters — to hold our elected officials accountable.  

For example, Senator John Thune, in the summer of 2016, was adamant that no Supreme Court nominees should be made until after the presidential election.

By 2020, however, Thune was on board for quickly pushing through a nomination three weeks prior to the election.

What changed?

Ben’s column reminds us what we all as voters should do and that is to hold elected officials accountable for the things they say.

I think the two things are related.

If we don’t remember what is said and done — both good and bad — by our representatives, how do we hold them to their word when they reverse course as it suits them? How do we, as informed citizens, make a decision on who to vote for when we go to cast a ballot?

Well, we don’t.

The definition of insanity, I have read, is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Aren’t we kinda doing that today?

We hope and beg to have those elected to represent us engage in meaningful dialog that brings the country together.

Instead, we get incredulous remarks that, when proven wrong, encourages the person to double down and make even more scathing statements that turns up the heat.

They can do that because they know we as voters won’t remember what was said prior to two days earlier.

Legislators across the country are working overtime to limit who can vote and in what ways they can cast ballots.

Perhaps they should be worried about how to stop the malaise and feeling of helplessness or hopelessness that keeps voter turnout shockingly low.

To all elected officials: Democrat, Republican, Independent and however else you want to classify yourself….

Stop. Acting. Like. Children.

It will take some effort on all of your parts, but it can happen.

I don’t know which it was that was nice first, but my kids - now 38 and 34 - are the best of friends.

Somebody just had to take the first step. Who’s it gonna be?



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