News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion


Political theme for next year’s elections emerging

A common opinion that is spreading throughout the country spells trouble for politicians. Americans see government as inept.

They think that government doesn't work like it once did, even discounting the terrible strains of 9-11, the war and hurricanes.

The oil industry couldn't supply enough refined products even before the hurricanes hit. The nation couldn't vaccinate all the people who wanted flu shots last winter.

People who can get on an airplane in Atlanta without a problem might get singled out in California as being on a suspected terrorist list.

Tractor-trailer rigs sit for days in Montgomery loaded with bags of ice while hurricane victims suffer.

Older women, senior citizens who are no threat to society, are hassled about renewing their driver license for the sake of homeland security.

"It's like so many things, nothing really works right that the government is doing," said Joyce St. John, a 36-year school bus driver for Morgan County.

She's spent days attempting to renew her license when she couldn't readily prove to the government's satisfaction who she is.

Women marry, they divorce, they get new names. Mrs. St. John, 65, is one of thousands the state is telling to get their identifications in order. Her name is a tad different on her expiring license and Social Security card and birth certificate.

Complying is an ordeal and time consuming.

She, too, sees ineptness in a bureaucracy that's not primed for the challenges.

The state blames the federal government. The federal government blames terrorism. Government is out of sync. The engine that drives our ingenuity sputters. The mechanics bicker.

Americans understand and want better security but do not like the ineptness in the process. It's an attitude that's going to get plenty of play next year when those in public office, from city halls to state capitals and all the way to Washington, D.C., seek re-election.

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