It’s one of the first sayings of this kind I remember hearing. Maybe it was just real popular in the 70’s. I’m not exactly sure.
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
I’m going to guess that more of us have heard that statement than haven’t.
It’s a philosophy which is hard to argue with, but I’m going to give it a try.
And I’m going to try by writing over Memorial Day Weekend. I’m guessing readership is extremely low. If you’re reading this, why are you not doing anything over this long weekend?
Take a fence. Using the philosophy above, we’d wait until the fence is no longer protecting anybody. We’d wait until the fence is actually broken before getting out a hammer and nails. The dog is running loose and the neighbor child simply walks into our backyard. We’d just let the thing deteriorate before addressing the problem. Chances are we could have done a little maintenance and the cost would be cheaper than a brand new fence.
How about roads or bridges? How many potholes did you hit over the winter months? Many people have talked about our “crumbling infrastructure” this election cycle. Crumbling is not broken. I’m guessing reinforcing a bridge would be cheaper than rebuilding one. I’m guessing that an actual crumbled bridge would be more costly to everybody than fixing the crumbling one. Better to fix issues before sending people on an unexpected swim in some polluted body of water.
I can create examples of non-broken things that could use a little fixin’ for a thousand words here. Maybe that’s all I should do.
Another flaw in the human character is that everybody wants to build and nobody wants to do maintenance.
But I really have something I want to compare all of this to. Yes, America’s political mess.
It ain’t completely broke yet. I mean, we think it’s still functioning. People have jobs and the roads still work and there is a building we can send our young children to that will teach them the basics of reading and arithmetic. You get your mail six days a week. Signs that the government is not broken are everywhere.
And I do believe that something great was built. We just refuse to do any maintenance. As if that whole housing market crash didn’t scare us into getting out the hammer and nails. Somebody should have seen it coming. I did. I knew it couldn’t last. I’m just some dumb fuck living in the lower middle class.
Our government was sold to us as a way to protect the people from getting screwed time and time again. It didn’t always serve its purpose, so things had to be fixed. I mean, we did treat several races and classes of people poorly in order to become the smashing success we’ve become. Native Americans, slaves, laborers, on and on. We had to try and right some wrongs.
We weren’t great at it and there’s still work to be done.
Here’s the point. For 40 years or more, we have elected people into positions of political power because the system wasn’t broken. Not completely. But look how far we’ve come!
Pothole after pothole.
We can’t pretend that the housing market crash was the only pothole. Two wars. That stock market crash of ’87. The economic bubble burst of 2001. The exporting of jobs. It’s happening all the time.
I see the individual threads on the cables which are supposed to be supporting the bridge.
People hail Reagan as a great President, but his entire political strategy was to give money to the wealthy. He argued that there would be a trickle down effect. That was over 30 years ago. Every president since Reagan has supported this philosophy even if not loudly. Definitely nobody changed it.
Wealthy people have always run this country. We know this. But the system is working worse than it ever has.
The system is crumbling so badly that we actually have 50% of the country arguing that 97% of the scientists are wrong.
The Koch Brothers don’t care about your children. They just don’t.
Clinton and Trump don’t either.
Forty years ago, Donald Trump struck a deal that he would rebuild the Hyatt in New York in exchange for no taxes for forty years.
All we are is a society who worships the crazy and the wealthy in exchange for our souls (wages and status).
At some point, we need to fix something. Neither Trump nor Clinton will pull out the hammer and nails. Their successes are part of the problem. They are two people who have succeeded on the backs of everyday citizens.
Yet here we are. Again. All the time.
When they say the system is broken, many people get upset. It’s not broken. As long as Ted Cruz stays away from the Dr. Seuss section of the library, the government tends to stay open. We get services just like in the past. Everything is operational.
But that philosophy has so many flaws.
This is more than identifying broken. This is identifying places that need fixing before the cost is too high. This is about maintenance. This is about changing the oil in your car before the engine blows. Because it’s going to blow and the whole engine is going to be useless to all of us real soon.
Or do we just dump another quart in the hole and wait for the explosion?