It’s How You Play the Game

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By Mark Lipman

 Let’s try to put things in terms that people can understand.  At the behest of a handful of power elites, George W. Bush decided that he wanted to invade Iraq, yet he lacked the justification to do so.  He therefore commissioned the CIA to hand him a report with pre-determined conclusions and systematically ignored all evidence and objections to the contrary of his desired goals.  The invasion of Iraq, the occupation and subsequent war have decidedly marked President Bush’s tenure in office as the greatest catastrophe in American history.

At the behest of a handful of developers, homeless haters and wealthy landowners, Bill Rosendahl decided that he wanted to institute permit parking in Venice, yet lacked the justification for the Coastal Commission.  He therefore commissioned the Bureau of Engineering, at a taxpayer expense of $75,000, to hand him a report with pre-determined conclusions and systematically ignored all evidence and the overwhelming objections to the contrary of his desired goals, which the Bureau of Engineering was only to happy to dutifully comply with.  It is yet to be determined whether or not permit parking will become the greatest catastrophe in Venice history, yet the writing is already on the wall.

The point is, if you go about trying to get what you want without fairness, openness and the due process guaranteed by the constitution, while ignoring and in some cases even falsifying the evidence, it can only bode ill for the outcome.

In all fairness to Councilmember Rosendahl, he is no George Bush and thank God for that.  In fact, it has been said repeatedly that he is the best councilmember we’ve had in a long time.  Yet, comparing the tactics used, not just by him, but systematically throughout the entire government, is not only valid, but urgently needed.

With all the swirling rhetoric of change in this political season, we need to remind ourselves that the first thing that needs to be changed is the very way we go about doing things.  No longer is it acceptable to just bully our way around, narrow-mindedly just pushing through our personal agendas, by “any means necessary,” with no regard for the well being of others.

When I was a child, I was taught that it is not whether you win or lose, but how you play the game.  Does that not sound familiar?

If we can only get what we want by cheating or by hurting others, it makes one question whether what we wanted was worth having in the first place.

Perhaps, sadly, all of us are not up to that, but our elected public officials need to be held to the highest standard.  As this election season heats up, we need to remind ourselves of that more and more.

Do we ask ourselves what these candidates propose to do?  Do we thoughtfully examine where they stand on the issues?  Or do we simply go with who and what we are told is popular?

If the latter be the case, then we have no one to blame but ourselves when all these smiling politicians strip us of every last thing we’ve got, leaving us to rot out in the cold.

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