Problems we know ... where’s the solution?

Carlton Fletcher

Carlton Fletcher

“Give a hand to the man, You know darn well he’s got the super plan. He’s Misstra Know-It-All.”

— Stevie Wonder

Complaining about the status quo, especially about those in charge of the status quo, is as old as time itself.

There is evidence, found among earliest cave drawings in Sumatra, that Supreme Ruler Grogg was overthrown and sacrificed to the Rain God Istl by an angry mob after he introduced fire to those in his cave subdivision. It seems, according to the drawings, that Grogg was levying a two-pterodactyl surcharge for any who wanted to acquire some of the hot stuff for their clan.

(It’s unclear, but some archaeologists now think what really pushed the angry mob over the top was Grogg’s decision to add a half-brontosaurus tax for ash removal to his sudvision’s end-of-year dinosaur protection fee.)

It doesn’t matter if you’re talking about the national Democratic Party, the state Republican Party, the regional Libertarian Party or the local tea party, it seems every group is absolutely certain that whatever other group is in charge is doing everything wrong. And while the leaders of those groups will point out the sins of the powers that be quicker than you can say filibuster (not that you’d ever want to say that word), only in very, very, very, very ... let’s go one more ... very rare cases does any group offer a solution.

(An interjection: Sorry, tea party-heartiers, saying everything any individual or group does is wrong does not constitute a valid solution.)

Sometimes the complaints from various groups border on the ridiculous. What they say could actually be considered pretty funny, except for the fact that some of these groups have actually been elected to represent our interests and they’re wasting their time quibbling over matters that in the overall scheme of things mean very little.

So ... funny, no; ironic and ludicrous, yes.

Take Georgia Democrats’ complaints about the recently completed redistricting maps in the state. Leaders of the party have already declared the maps — drawn up for the first time in a bazillion years by Republicans because they control every facet of government, yes, even the little-known sub-lower House, which is in charge of bad campaign slogans, for the first time in a bazillion years — illegal, immoral and an affront to the very fabric that has lifted the state, Phoenix-like, from the ashes of ruin to its place as one of the nation’s shining pillars of all that is good and decent in America.

Those politicians, they do like to talk.

What’s ironic about the Democrats’ complaints is that for the last bazillion years they’ve been drawing up the redistricting maps, and they’ve done the same thing they’re accusing Republicans of doing: drawing districts meant to increase GOP power over the next 10 years at the expense of Democrats. Hey, if you guys didn’t see that one coming, perhaps you should go back and rethink this political career you’ve got going.

Perhaps what makes the irony even more ironier is the righteous indignation of the Democrats as they howl and cry as if they’re stunned to be so shabbily treated. In the words of Jim Bouton, “Yeah, right.”

While discussing redistricting and other political hot potatoes recently with a pretty sharp guy who knows his politics, I got wind of a solution that would stop a lot of the bickering on the national, state and local levels. It’s brilliant in its simplicity.

“What you do,” the politically astute one said, “is offer the complainers an opportunity to come up with their own solution. Instead of listening to them complain over and over, form a committee to study the issue in question, put these complainers on the committee, and let them go at it.

“Worst case scenario, it remains a fiasco, but the complainers see that finding solutions is actually not so simple. Best case scenario, they come up with a plan that actually works.”

Hmmm ... I can think of a few elected bodies in the region that might find wisdom in these words. Certainly it would be preferable to listening to the same people say the same things about the same problems without a hint of an idea that might actually make things better.

Email Metro Editor Carlton Fletcher at carlton.fletcher@albanyherald.com.