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Letter: Don’t Generalize About Politics

To the Editor:

Congress has been debating the extension of long-term unemployment benefits. This fact serves as a backdrop to a curious incident at a local bakery today. A somewhat ragtag gentleman around 50 with a baseball cap came in to ask if we were hiring.

Upon my apologetically saying, “No” (I usually at least ask for a resume), the response was, “It’s OK, that’s better for me. I just need to ask in three different places. I am trying to get the most out of my unemployment.” I made sure to say, “You’re welcome” as he turned for the door.

May I guess your feelings? Anger, frustration and confusion were my primary reactions and possibly yours as well. More interesting, I posit, is making an attempt to direct these feelings. Many will suggest Obama, Democrats and big government. In one sense this just might be correct.

Democratic leaders are faulted for lack of thrift, foolhardy compassion and endless bureaucracy which can all lead to wasted charity. Are those traits fairly ascribed? I don’t know because I don’t have congressional voting records in front of me. What I do know, however, is that the self-serving ambitions that make party leaders act in a certain way are not representative of us plebeians. I am tired of hearing political arguments become personal because of generalizations pegged to party membership.

How many reading this would cut that gentleman a check? Who knew only Republicans read the Valley News? In short, let us use our heads and search for the facts (or at least recognize their absence). Stop using the sinister “they” when speaking of others across the aisle. And, finally, recognize we have the power to fire our representatives. They stay in office too long and think of us too little — a far cry from the original intent. Would a founding father recognize Pennsylvania Avenue or have the same question as the fellow at the bakery, who said on his way out: “What street is this, anyway?”

Todd Bersaglieri

Lebanon

The writer works at Stone Arch Bakery in Lebanon.