Lingamfelter: Fortunate Misfortunes

By Scott Lingamfelter

I got caught in a rain storm the other day and by the time I was home, I was drenched. Fortunately, it was a somewhat humid day and the rain was a bit refreshing, even as I waded through puddles of water that covered the tops of my running shoes. It was, as the saying goes, a gully washer.

So, what does one do when you arrive home wet to the bone and in the pouring rain? Well, use the opportunity to inspect all of your home’s downspouts to ensure they are not clogged and are dispensing the runoff as they should, that’s what. As I went about my diluvial inspection routine, sure enough I found that one of my gutters was overrunning and probably clogged. I also discovered that one of my downspouts was overshooting the rain gutter and eroding our flower bed in the process.

So now I have some work to do. It’s the price I pay for taking the time to look at things as they are, not as I might wish them to be.

I suppose there are a few lessons to be taken from this. First, don’t go looking for trouble. But if you don’t, I suppose, it will come looking for you. And improperly functioning gutters and downspouts will eventually lead to other more serious and expensive repairs.

Another lesson might be this. If given the opportunity to see things as they are, even if you are soaking wet, take advantage of it. I did, and frankly my only concern was the possibility that a neighbor would be staring from their very dry house at the dumb guy walking around in the rain without an umbrella inspecting his downspouts. Let’s face it, how many people do you recall doing that sort of thing?

Nonetheless, taking advantage of a misfortune—in this case getting caught in a deluge—can lead to something that can be useful. Some folks call that making lemonade out of lemons. I call it being practical. In other words, how much more wet will I be if I stand out in the rain for 2 more minutes to do something useful?

So, what’s the point of all of this rambling? It’s this. America, let’s stop complaining about every misfortune we encounter and figure out how to make use of it to make things better. And we do have some misfortunes.

The national debt is a threat to the economic well-being of our economy and a burden to future generations, our grandchildren. So let’s fix it. Instead of just standing in the rain, let’s see where the overflows are, where the erosion is, and address those problems. We simply spend too much. It’s simple math. We must tighten our belts. So what needs to happen? Well, if you know anything about running a business, the biggest costs are almost always centered on personnel and structure. People cost a bunch of money. Therefore, let’s see if we can reduce that cost by eliminating unnecessary work that requires more people. Second, let’s reduce the amount of government structure, like buildings, both owned and rented. Look, we just came through a COVID crisis where—surprise, surprise, as Gomer Pyle use to say—we survived by working from home, for Pete’s sake. Let’s take advantage of that “misfortune” to save us a fortune, literally.

Shifting topics, we have also just experienced a very emotional and bitter political season where much division arose over voting procedures and how we conduct elections. That has eroded our confidence in elections. Consider doing this to address that misfortune.

First, require either in-person voting on Election Day or at polls open for early voting in the previous 30 days. That’s more than enough time to accommodate those who might have a valid reason to vote early.

Second, require that voters show valid identification before voting, no exceptions. There’s utterly no excuse for not being able to get official government-issued identity cards. Stop the nonsense over this. When I voted this week, I used my driver’s license as my ID. The bar code on the back was used to validate who I was and also to print out the actual ballot I filled out. That ensures that the ballot I am voting has the right candidates on it and is the ballot that I personally scanned.

Third, close voter registration no less than 60 days before the election. That way the voter rolls are fixed and not subject to abuse by last minute antics trying to register illegal voters.

Finally, require a national registry of voters by social security number so that the rolls of all states can be reconciled to ensure voters do not vote in two different localities.

Time to take our misfortunes and turn them into good fortunes.

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