The Speaker

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Your old columnist has been intrigued by the current contest being waged by Congressman (lady) Nancy Pelosi to become the Speaker of the House of Representatives. Obviously, Nancy has been Speaker before actually the only woman to do so ever. She is currently the Minority Leader. So her election again as Speaker should be a shoo-in. But there seems to be trouble right here in River City.

One has to understand that the vote for Speaker is required to be a vote by the majority of all the members of the House not just a majority of the Democrat members—Republicans vote too. Then during the campaign for the mid-term election, just held, some 14 or 17 candidates ran promising that they would not vote for Pelosi as speaker. Those no votes along with all the Republicans voting no would not give dear Nancy the majority she desires.

Personally, it gives me great pain to watch Nancy Pelosi behind a microphone. Maybe it is that her voice just clashes with my hearing aids. Then too her syntax and grammar could use a little straightening out. I do remember her telling us that “We have to pass this bill so we can read it and understand it!” when she was urging passage of the Obamacare fiasco.

Still one has to hand it to Ms. Pelosi as all the pundits, political commentators, speak to her power to get things done. Obviously, if a representative is a Democrat she expects them to vote her way and they do. People speak to her power. The way it works is that the Speaker is the one who gives out committee assignments and if a Representative wants on a particular committee he/she has to have Nancy’s approval. I suspect that she wields the threat that that Representative’s home district will get no tax handouts to grease their next reelection is one of the tools that she uses. Probably all sorts of other pressure can be applied to get her people to vote right most of those tools involving our tax money.

Yet that is the way that Congress works today. It is all about the power of the leadership to influence votes the way that they want to go. Sad in my opinion. This old long time politically minded guy still holds the opinion that the representatives we elect to Congress should evaluate each bill in light of whether the legislation will be or not be good for their home district, the people that after all elected them to office. I’m not really interested in feathering the Speaker’s nest especially when it costs me in tax dollars.

Yes, I’m picking on Nancy but she isn’t alone. Sadly all the longtime politicians in government work the same way. It becomes an ego-building power trip for many rather than a quest to do what is right for the people they represent. Republican or Democrat it makes little difference once they get to Washington. Seems the longer they stay the worse it gets and that, to me, is a great argument in favor of term limits.

Enough about politics. I have been asked to write a short treatise on what this community does to prepare our young people to become successful in life. I could use a little help from those of you that read this column and ponder these kinds of things. Is it our schools with the small classrooms and good teachers that build confidence in their students in preparation for life? Is it the sparse population, small town and rural setting, that is a good influence in teaching confidence in themselves? Churches, we have many, teaching the good Christian life which means service to others, our fellow man? The weather with both summer and winter teaching preparedness and flexibility? How about our local college and our access to higher education? Just what is it about this place that builds success in our young people?

Something about the little territory that we live in is working to produce individuals like Ben Nelson, governor and U.S. Senator, Senator George Norris, Governor Frank Morrison, Governor Brooks, world-renowned architect Bob Douglas, Gazette publisher Harry Strunk, AF General Hugh Eisenhart from Culbertson and the list goes on and on. And then there are all the local people that make this community function, hospital personnel, fire and police for public safety, local government, good teachers, the city and county workers that make this place pleasant and comfortable, merchants providing the essentials of life. It is people serving others; service to our fellow man. What made YOU the success you are today? Come on I need a little help.

That is the way I saw it.

Dick Trail

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