WEBCommentary Guest

Author: Larry Simoneaux
Date:  March 24, 2008

Topic category:  Other/General

Got rules?

I like rules.

I like them because they set boundaries, keep order and prevent chaos - all of which are still, last time I checked, good things.

I like rules because whenever there’s a dispute, you can go back to them and come up with an answer. Some may not like that answer but, if the rules were agreed to beforehand, any complaints made should be accompanied by the playing of the world’s smallest violin.

Admittedly, some rules may not work as intended, but that’s a topic for after the game when reasonable people can sit down and say, “You know what? This one’s a dog.” Then everyone gets to argue for a better version.

At least, that’s the way it’s supposed to work. More on this later.

Each of us likely became aware of the need for rules at about the same time that we showed up at the playground. They allowed us - despite loud arguments over close calls - to have fun.

Rules also governed our behavior in school. They allowed teachers to teach and students to learn. On that last, even though they’d likely deny it, kids really do want to learn. If you doubt this, witness the recent incident in Marysville where there was a student protest that I could finally understand.

The students wanted discipline. They wanted order and safety. They wanted the rules enforced so that they could learn. What’s not to like about that?

Their action begged a question though. How in the heck did things get to the point where the kids had to collar the adults and tell them they needed to get the situation under control?

These days, what with gangs, bullying, sliding test scores and whatnot, it’s bad enough having to worry whether or not we’re winning the game of education. It’s becomes even scarier when something like this makes you wonder if we’re even in the game.

Some other things.

I remember what my wife and I went through when we bought our first home. We’d found one we liked and went to our bank to see if they’d give us a loan.

The first thing our loan officer (picture George C. Scott at his sternest) wanted to see was 20 percent down. Then he wanted to know other things about us. These included our (provable) income, how long we’d been in our jobs, our credit history, our outstanding debts, whether we thought LSU could beat Ole Miss, were our biscuits homemade, what was our position on the designated hitter rule, and on and on. In short, we were being judged and that, my friends, was good.

We got the loan but, before we did, that loan officer made sure that: (1) He believed we could handle the loan, and (2) We knew the terms and what would happen if we missed a payment.

In short, we knew the rules.

Contrast that to where we are now because a lot of lending people decided “To heck with rules. Let’s offer gazillion dollar loans to anyone making minimum wage.”

“Anyone,” of course, wasn’t blameless either. “Anyone” willingly suspended common sense and bought into this crock of bull lock, stock, and barrel. The consequences are are now upon us.

I don’t like politics, but I’ll make an observation.

There’s a lot of caterwauling going on in one of our political parties over what to do about the delegates from Florida and Michigan.

Ask me, that’s easy. Just follow the rules. You know, the ones that that same party put in place beforehand. The ones everybody agreed to abide by. The ones that were set in stone. The ones that said there would be penalties were they broken.

Well, broken they were and, to solve the problem, all they have to do is stop whining, pretend they’re grownups (tough thing for a lot of politicians to do these days), quit trying to figure a way around the rules, and abide by what they agreed to do.

I know. I know. Disenfranchised voters. Close race. Every vote counts. Blah, blah. Woof, woof.

OK, if they really want a way around the problem, then divide the delegates in half, declare the results official and, next time, remember the mess that comes from not following the rules - especially those of your own making.

Pretty simple if you ask me.

But that’s because I like rules.

Larry Simoneaux

Biography - Larry Simoneaux

Larry Simoneaux is a regular columnist for The Everett Herald in Washington state. He is a retired ship driver for the US Navy and NOAA.

Copyright © 2008 by Larry Simoneaux
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