See the whole board

8 Jun

I was watching a rerun of West Wing where President Bartlett and Sam Seaborne were playing chess.  The President kept saying to Sam, “look at the whole board before you make a mover.”  He said this several times while Sam was guessing what was happening politically in the situation room.


Sam did a good job guessing.  It was written that way, but the phrase I keep remembering is ‘look at the whole board’.  For a chess player this means a lot, but it should mean a lot to the thousands of elected officials in this nation. 


In chess if you play your game without paying attention to the possible strategy of your opponent you will get beaten.  If you make any move without a reason, you will get beaten by your opponent.  In running this great nation of ours we have to do two things well.  We have to make deliberate moves that benefit the nation as a whole, and we should never make stop gap moves that kicks the can down the road.  Sorry for the younger readers.  ‘Kick the can’ is a physical activity game that requires nothing but a can and some kids.  What I mean is we should make things happen to perform a specific purpose.


Our legislators waste a lot of time doing things they need not do.  Let’s suppose they passed a law that say you can’t throw anything out the window of a car.  Wait a minute; they did pass such a law.  It is micromanagement at its finest.  It cannot be enforced to a degree that makes a difference, so we post signs costing into the millions of dollars.  We have few neighborhoods that help, and we send the prisoners out to pick up debris.  We cannot control everyone’s life to that degree.  At some point we have to let people be responsible for themselves.


We used to look at the whole board.  When I was young, if an adult saw me doing wrong, they had no problem telling me so.  I also had no problem obeying.  We lived in communities then, and if I didn’t obey, he or she would tell my father. 


Our legislators should ‘look at the whole board’ and figure out the balance between micromanagement and placing the responsibility on the public to protect ourselves unless it is at a degree that a professional should do it.  See the problem.  Look at the whole board.


Are we looking at the whole board or do we think we are paying someone to do it for us?  Even if that is so, did you vote?

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