Making Sense of Chuck Hagel
A new word may be emerging from the Senate halls. The word, a noun, is “Hagel-ling”. It describes a process where a minority party recklessly exercises a historic Senate privilege and blocks a Presidential nomination with no job performance grounds.
“Hagel-ling” continues a practice which gained momentum beginning in 2009 called “No-ing”. This practice calls for the President’s opposition to simply say “No” to anything and everything the President proposes.
Both practices gain character when the invokers wear an American Flag lapel pin. Looking a television camera straight on, the “No” sayer says, “the American people don’t want this, they want …. whatever.”
Who said English was a dead language?
To put “Hagel-ling” and “No-ing” is a fuller context, one should try to answer the following four questions:
- Which Country spends more (twice as much as most) other countries on health care, does not include everyone in health care coverage, and accepts a system that delivers mediocre health care outcomes?
- Which Country spends more per student on K-12 education than any other country (except Switzerland), and produces students whose standardized test scores are mediocre?
- Which Country spends more money on Defense than any other country, almost as much as all other countries combined?
- Which Country imprisons more citizens than any other country with little or no impact upon crime rates?
The answer to all four question is the United States of America.
The US finds itself in a peculiar spot.
- The Federal budget is chronically unbalanced.
- Most experts point to a shortage of educated and skilled workers to fill current and future jobs.
- Defense spending bares little resemblance to imminent threats and a lot more commonality to Congressional districts.
- Prison populations keep rising as well as the budgets to house more prisoners per capita than any place in the world. Why is the US so law un-abiding?
Frankly, I am not sure of why “No-ing” and “Hagel-ling” have come into existence. Their practice solves nothing and does not advance greater understanding of any issues.
I am pretty sure, however, that the “why” answer lies close to the answer to why our nation is not up in arms over these four questions. How can America sit by and waste so much money on health care, education, defense, and prisons, and then lament the nation’s Federal budget deficit?
Just maybe, if we try to make sense of the Chuck Hagel situation, we can stumble on the much larger set of problems, fully in our control, which continue to drift along with or without Chuck Hagel. We elected the members of Congress!
The continued rejection of looking at data, comparing worldwide, and then making decisions in the nation’s best interest is hard to understand. Maybe Chuck can help us find the way.