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Curmudgeon's Corner

cur-mud-geon: anyone who hates hypocrisy and pretense and has the temerity to say so; anyone with the habit of pointing out unpleasant facts in an engaging and humorous manner

Political Pettiness

U.S., Wisconsin, Political, Education, Quality of Life, School Board, Village Board

We elect people for whom we have respect, or at least that is the theory so far as I can recall.  Then, we often seem to ignore the lack of respect those same people might earn in our eyes, and just continue to re-elect them term-after-term.  We ought to be able to be proud of those for whom we’ve cast our ballots to place into office, and that ought to be the case no matter the party affiliation or how we voted.

Too often, it seems, there is a bad case of what I choose to call “Political Pettiness”.   This might be likened to what I would probably refer to as childishness when we know the person knows better than to ‘act out’, but when we continue to ignore that behavior, and continue in our resolute support of the person.  That even though they no longer measure up to our standards…whatever those standards were originally.

Political Pettiness seems too often to be a disease contracted at the national level but it also hits sometimes at the state level and even at the county and local levels.  In fact, maybe Political Pettiness is simply a malady that can attack any politician who doesn’t constantly remind self that he or she is susceptible.

Political Pettiness might be seen when a politician or several decide they’re going to take their ball and go home rather than conduct themselves as adults and try to resolve their differences.  Political Pettiness might be seen when a politician becomes so important in his or her own mind as to lose sight of the common rules of conduct.  Political Pettiness might be seen when grudges get in the way of good governance even though the politician knows what he or she is doing isn’t for the good of the governed.

I can recall Political Pettiness at the local level, at the county level and at the state level.  As I reflect on these instances there seems a common thread: the individual or individuals get to the point of thinking they are so important that nothing else matters.

This affliction is also found in non-political settings.  Workplaces can also be the scene of such pettiness and it is potentially more damaging in such a setting since we have sort of come to expect and accept this conduct in politics, and since we are not directly involved in the action.

Each of us is responsible for our own conduct.  That old thing called the Golden Rule is particularly helpful whenever we near the point of becoming a practitioner of pettiness.  If we could but remember that we are to “do unto others as we would have them do unto us”, imagine how much better the organization could be in terms of what it accomplishes.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see the Golden Rule practiced in all arenas of human interaction?

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