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There are a lot of ‘I’s and egos in play in commentary

I find myself talking to the television much more of late. Sometimes it is an under my breath comment on the intelligence level of a couch full of so-called news people. Other times it is an all out, voiced raised question thrown at a wanna-be journalist who is presenting half a story in the guise of news.
From commenting on ridicules left-wing policies to the wonder of the spinelessness of some Republican leaders, my television commentary has become a disturbing habit. I am sometimes unaware of the volume of my responses to what is happening on my TV until my 19-year-old blind and nearly deaf dog lifts his head and gives me that look that tells me I have disturbed his sleep.
That is a bad sign. When a deaf dog can hear you, something should be done.
As I watch the rounds of news shows, listen to commentary or sometimes even as I am reading what is passed off as news in today’s world, I can’t help but voice an opinion. It is what I do.
Lately, I wonder if I were sitting on that couch or at that table, would I have the courage to voice my responses as loudly as I do at home.
Would I be able to look someone I know is lying in the eye and call him or her on it? Would I be able to tell the people around a table that this is not about them, but about the people they are supposed to be representing?
Would I have the guts to say out loud “This is a republic, not an autocracy.”
There is a lot of “I”s involved here, and it is not about that. This is about a question of where constitutional support has gone. It is a question of where the rule of law has been buried in our federal government.
It is about forgetting about the balance of government and replacing that with “my Department of Justice” or “my generals.”
When the self-importance of one individual takes precedence over all else, the volume of my responses increases.
One person’s ego is not what government is all about. The ego issue has become a huge problem in the 24-hour news cycle life in which we now live. The more screen time one gets, the bigger the ego.
But there really is little room for ego in government. Of course one has to have a large enough ego to think they are capable of doing the job they seek, but when ego leads the brain, therein lies the problem.
What we are seeing in Washington right now is childish tantrum after childish tantrum, led by egos and not intelligence. The more one side digs in, the more stubborn the other side grows.
It is a vicious cycle in which we the people are the victims. Although it has been happening for years, it grows exponentially with each passing day.
It is not only in our federal government that egos take the lead, it happens on every level.
Over the years that I have been in this job, I have sometimes had to close the door of my office as I watch replays of governmental meetings because of my response habit. There have been times when I have commented, loudly, “This is not about you. This is about the taxpayers!”
I have tapped down the urge to pick up the phone and let some of our local and state leaders know what I think of their power plays and public hissy fits.
I don’t often make that phone call, but there are times when I shoot an email to those who represent us in the legislature or to others who have more experience in politics than I.
I have become friends with several of our lawmakers and their responses to me are often swift and give me a lesson in how politics in South Dakota really work.
I appreciate their candor and have valued those lessons.
As I ponder how I have gotten to this place, yelling at my TV, pounding out emails and letting my disappointment over-ride my thought process in some instances, I wonder if this is a fixable malady.
Is this what I have to look forward to in my future?
Will I need to ensure any dogs in my future are nearly deaf to keep them sane in our home?
Where did this ongoing “I” commentary come from? Will it worsen with retirement or will I mellow with age?
Only time and the political landscape will tell.