My Way, the Highway, or is There Another Way?

We’re familiar with this term, while a definition is likely not necessary, please humor me as I attempt to lay it out.

An online search states that this phrase dates back to the 1970s. The suggestion, of course, is a “Take it or leave it” attitude. It indicates that the listener is NOT in a position to challenge the speaker’s opinions, such as in a boss to an employee. We have probably all had or known of bosses who run their department or business like this. Certainly, dictators, kings and others in authority operate in this manner. Kim Jung Il comes to mind, as it is reported he fed his uncle alive to mad and hungry dogs.

There is little doubt that most of our politicians operate under this idiom. Our cries for less spending, fewer regulations, and lowering the debt, to name a few has fallen on deaf ears. The party and political leadership all take a “My way or the highway” attitude in running our government. They are so much smarter than either our founders or us, in their own minds.

So how did we reach the point we find ourselves in now that we each have adopted this way of thinking as part of our everyday lives?

Synergy is one of those buzz words I learned when I first went to the airline industry. Historically, there were two rules in the cockpit. Rule 1: the captain is always right. Rule 2: in any case in which the captain is wrong, please refer to Rule 1. This attitude, of course, led to accidents as the dynamics in the cockpit devolved into three individuals each doing their own thing, rather than a crew working together. Synergy is an interaction between people or organizations that combine to produce results with a greater effect than each of the separate effects would have been.

It is cooperation, not competition. In the cockpit, it is the desire to work together to survive an emergency. Even though the captain is 100% responsible for the safety of the flight, it is their duty to accept help and information from the rest of the crew. Lives are at stake.

Of course, I am not writing this to talk about foreign dictators or airline captains. We are coming off the worst political campaign in my lifetime. Historically, campaigns eventually get in the mud a little, but it is normally the final candidates duking it out leading up to election day. Never have I seen such a display between candidates of the same party and that has extended to their supporters.

I recall (even though the Clintons may not) when news and details of the Bill and Monica scandal broke. It changed the dynamics of how people perceived sex. When I grew up, all sexual contact was considered essentially the same. I don’t want to get graphic here, but I think you get my drift. Young people picked up on it and suddenly they drew a new line as to what was sex and what was not. This was brought to us by the president of these United States; it is his legacy.

Fighter from Flickr via Wylio

© 2014 Paul SablemanFlickr | CC-BY

I backed off during this past election and just watched.

People became vile. They hurled insults and expletives at each other…and this was on both sides of the aisle each fighting against their own fellow party loyalists. It might have been comical if it had not been so sad. Long time friends and even family members were suddenly at each other’s throats, blocking and unfriending, and then posting how proud they were that they had acted in such a childish manner.

Social media has made people braver, taken away some filters much in the same way the alcohol breaks down inhibitions. But is is deeper than that. And the stakes are much higher.

I mentioned above that working together in the cockpit was essential, that lives were at stake, and they depended on us.

Well, our republic is at stake now. Our liberty is at stake.

While we argue and bicker with each other, Washington continues to sell our grandchildren’s future down the river. It is not different than two pilots arguing over the problem while the plane descends and crashes. Does it matter who won the battle if we all lose the war?

US National Flag and California State Flag, City Hall, Santa Monica from Flickr via Wylio

© 2012 Ed UthmanFlickr | CC-BY

I have watched with interest as Californians talk of secession in the news. Texas was vilified for suggesting secession a few years ago, but suddenly progressives see California as having just cause. After all, Trump is now president-elect.

But has anyone looked at the reasons people in each state, people from opposite sides of the political spectrum, have stated their desire to leave the union?

Flags from Flickr via Wylio

© 2011 zombieiteFlickr | CC-BY


Texans are sick and tired of Washington overstepping its enumerated powers, taking its money, and saddling it with unfunded mandates. They see themselves as sovereign, not 1/50th of a huge pie.

According to an organization called “Yes California,” their petition is based on Washington taking more than it gives, and that Californians are culturally different-  they are portrayed as out of step with the rest of the nation, and that they are sovereign.

Hmmm, don’t these reasons, one a generally conservative and the other a progressive state, sound eerily the same? I saw posts yesterday on a conservative friend’s timeline that suggested “good riddance,” “see ya,” “adios,” “don’t let the door hit ya where the good lord split ya.” Many of these were Texans, by the way. I’d suggest each state has its own flag for a reason.

Shouldn’t we embrace California and Texas as coming to their senses? I am not suggesting secession, but the recognition that we are all sovereign states.  Washington HAS overstepped its bounds. WE should determine what liberties our state should have. We should celebrate when people want to operate within the constitution. The whole idea of our republic was that California, or any state, could choose what it sees is the best for its citizens. We were never to be a “one size fits all” republic; we were to have 50 separate laboratories.  What works well in California may or may not work in New York. Let them determine that for themselves.

So now we come to the crux of the matter. Can we not find common ground rather than fight with each other? If you follow me, you know I am passionate about the republic and the constitution. If we do not begin to work together…not only as conservatives, but with (gasp) progressives as well, we will lose everything. We have common ground. If you looked at the Occupy Wall Street movement, we had common ground with them too.

“How?” you might ask. Using Article V of the Constitution. Rather than trying to ram it down each other’s throats, how about we work together to solve our differences? Suppose we had a convention where each state could defend itself from the overreach of the federal government? Suppose each state could enjoy its sovereignty and pursue what is in its citizens best interest? Suppose each state could keep its revenue and only send to Washington what is constitutionally required?

We can, and it has been proven. Convention of States Project ran a “test run” recently. Representatives from all 50 states met for a simulated convention, to see how it might work, and what the possibilities were, both good and bad. The entire final day is available online, and it is worth the effort to watch it.  Watch it here:  I watched it over a period of days. The results are all something that benefits the states and the people. The losers are the power brokers in Washington.

Here’s an example of what can happen:
1. The public debt shall not be increased except upon a recorded vote of two-thirds of each house of Congress.
2. Term limits on Congress
3. Limiting federal overreach by returning the Commerce Clause to its original meaning
4. Limiting the power of federal regulations by giving an easy congressional override
5. Require a supermajority for federal taxes and repeal the 16th Amendment
6. Give the states (by a 3/5ths vote) the power to abrogate any federal law, regulation or executive order.

Perhaps it’s time for a “The Republic’s way or the highway.”  We must work together to save the Republic. Infighting and fighting across the aisle leave only one winner-  big intrusive government.

Photo Credit: “Fight,” © 2012 Giuseppe CalsamigliaFlickr | CC-BY-ND



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