We the people… we the problem?

Complaining about government can be fun and some professors have turned it into a relatively profitable enterprise. Nonetheless, we need to consider if government is the problem, or if the problem originates with us.

Let’s take a couple of examples of divisive issues that didn’t need the government to start trouble.

One story involves Mike the kangaroo and the Estates of Legends Ranch Homeowners Association (“Mike the kangaroo gets to stay“). A family got Mike as a vocational training animal and friend for a 16-year-old girl with Down syndrome. The homeowners association listened to the complaints of some of Mike’s neighbors and ordered the family to get rid of six-month-old Mike. [Hint: If you’re not afraid to mess with someone’s 16-year-old daughter you have forgotten the greatest peril facing 16-year-old boys.] It took just a couple of news stories to get that reconsidered and Mike is staying put.

The other story involves the Beren Academy Stars and their quest for a state basketball championship. Originally the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools (TAPPS) scheduled the semifinal game during the Jewish Sabbath and refused to reschedule it despite the other team’s support for moving up the game. A variety of people took up Beren’s cause and the game was eventually rescheduled. TAPPS provides private schools a structure for athletic and artistic competitions so that private and religious schools can provide some of the same opportunities as the state’s public schools. They are not the government but they still managed to create every bit as much controversy as an official government agency.

We have met the enemy and he is us.I’m not saying that keeping a kangaroo is a good idea. I worked in a pet shop for years and I know the problems that come with exotic animals. I would say that people do not need an official government to make a decision that their neighbors will complain about.

People have differences. Governments (or governing bodies like homeowners association or TAPPS) are called in resolve the conflicts between citizens and only get the tough decisions that were not easily resolved by the citizens themselves. Questionable decisions are not exclusive to government. In fact, humans seem to generate them whenever and however we get together. Maybe we need to take responsibility and quit talking about the government and admit that our government often looks a little too much like us.

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