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By Jim Killebrew

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[December 03, 2013]  A quick look toward Washington, D.C., highlights a contentious group in the administration and Congress. Disagreement swells like the blustery front of blizzard clouds threatening to dump chaos on the heads of citizens unprepared with a scraper, let alone a shovel. Elected leaders have staked out their positions on fiscal issues that are described in analogous terms that have those being represented "pushed over a cliff" to their eventual demise. There's implementation of health care plans that promise fees, taxes and fines that overshadow the individual member of "we the people" to nothing more than the comforts that can be found in debtors' prison. There's the promise of raising individual taxes, beginning at Wall Street but spilling over to Main Street in every city, town, village and hamlet in America. They talk bipartisanship but implement ethnocentric selfishness, with the president adding a bit of class warfare.

From the vantage point of our own little town, as we look toward the East Coast and the capital city of D.C., there seems not to be a very good attitude toward accomplishment for the greater good through bipartisanship. It seems the new normal is more autocratic rule, resulting in adversarial relationships. Perhaps it is OK if you are comfortable working and living in that climate; but the end result is loss.

Look at our own one-party rule in Illinois. Are people not fighting to save insurance, pensions, prisons and jobs? Are we not experiencing tax raise after tax raise, and yet continuing to witness greater spending rates than ever before? Illinois has been successful in eliminating the opposition party; are we happier now, finally obtaining the one-party rule?

One wonders how it could be any different. We look to our leaders and admit they have ascended to those lofty positions by climbing the ladder from the rank and file of society to sit as the "officials" to rule over the rest.

It seems less than amazing to me that the people in the world today, especially the Western world, are so filled with self-centeredness. Almost every day there are stories of people who do things mean or unsightly to others because of their own feeling of privilege and belief in their own superiority. These narcissistic personalities are crafting their lives on the backs of others whom they feel are unimportant and undeserving, maneuvering events and situations toward themselves just so they can feel important.

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It is almost like leaders have become a society of antisocial personalities who are predisposed to destroy those around them just so they can see themselves in the mirror one more time. It is there in business, government, industry, communities, families and of course, individuals. It is more than fierce competition that drives them to undercut those around them. It has become a natural lifestyle of many who see themselves as "number one" and require the worship of others. When that self-aggrandized worship is denied, the person presses even more fiercely to claw their way to the top of the heap. It leads to some feeling exhilarated in achieving their goal to dump as many as possible from humanity onto the garbage pile of human misery. When that gathering of narcissistic souls have landed on the top of the heap, they tend to establish rules and laws for others, but exempting themselves; collecting revenue from others, but spending from the public trough for their own advantage.

Some have thrown in the towel in disgust, wondering if any answer lies beyond the horizon that brings an end to the doomsday scenario we have been listening to from our leaders the past few weeks.

I think there is an answer. It is men and women who have been entrusted with a responsibility to do the right thing, setting aside their personal preferences and having enough integrity to work together for the common good for those they are representing.

I think there have been many times in the history of our country when men and women of integrity have set aside personal preferences to compromise, not on principle, but on creating the best merits of an issue in favor of serving the best interest of the greater good. Different philosophies have started as adversarial, but honorable, perceptive people were able to set aside their different personal perspectives of party affiliation to work in a bipartisan manner to accomplish a greater task for the benefit of those whom they have supported. Do we dare expect anything less from those who are now in power?

I think some have looked too long for political identification and have lost sight of the real ingredient that is the character of a person: that is, their values, honesty and integrity, irrespective of their political affiliation.


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