Mr. Smith, we need you today.
Possible government default with Social Security and veterans benefits not getting paid, arguments over the debt ceiling and taxes and argumentative behavior and name calling goes on and on and on. Whew!
With this bantering surrounding us, my wife and I relaxed the other night and viewed the 1939 film, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. What timing for seeing this classic masterpiece. In it, the innocence of the movie's namesake, Sen. Jefferson Smith, set the stage for a showdown of good versus evil, innocence against corruption.
Smith had been the head of a group of Boy Rangers in an unnamed western state and was appointed by the governor to fill the seat of a senator who died unexpectedly. The governor thought Smith would be the least offensive and least controversial of candidates and would also be easy to manipulate due to his inexperience.
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The plot was simple, the story and script were very well done and the acting was superb. Our viewing of this film coincided with the reality of what is happening in Washington today as Congress and the president wrangle over the issues of budget reduction, tax reform, debt ceiling, government shutdowns, etc.
I immediately drew some comparisons of the film's conflicts and the dilemma we face today with a polarized government. In my lifetime I have never heard so much negativity from both sides of the political aisle and from the White House.
Please don't think I am judging the president or any particular congressman or senator or political party. Judging their performance is something I believe all of us should do on an individual and informed basis. But, like many Americans, I am very disappointed with what I see and hear from most of Washington these days. And I firmly believe it would be beneficial to our nation if every elected official, from the president to the least experienced Congress member, along with all their staff members, watched Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.
I further believe it would be inherently positive for our nation and its citizens if all of our elected officials observed the lessons of truth, honesty and the goodness that Smith embodied as the senator who came to Washington with no political experience nor political baggage. He wanted to do something good for the nation and its citizens and not create legislation to benefit a particular group or lobbyists who would give him money to represent their interests.
I am fearful the leaders of this great and vast nation are allowing money, power and influence to override their common sense and possibly their moral obligation to do the right thing for the right reason.
Ladies and gentlemen, I believe we need a cleansing in Washington. If our leaders don't begin to work together for the common good of the nation and come together on common ground to make progress our adversaries and rivals of the world will literally eat our lunch.
Today, we are fighting to remain on the top rung of the ladder of prosperity. Our economy is growing at less than 2 percent while our rivals are experiencing 9 percent and better growth.
Within a decade, the economy of China will surpass ours and our children and grandchildren will have to work night and day to pay the debt we owe to China and others.
It is imperative that our leaders work together for the common good, not their individual success. I urge all of us to contact our elected leaders in Washington and ask them to come together for the good of our nation.