I am weary of listening to people bicker. I am tired of being exposed to the infighting of the famous, infamous, and the powerful. I feel like I am being drenched in spittle daily as television and movie producers and stars and claw at each other. Family tragedies are served up as entertainment without regard to anyone’s privacy or our collective dignity. Meanwhile, our ruling elite bicker endlessly, demonstrating across the political spectrum a complete lack of awareness of or true concern for the lives of ordinary citizens.
As I ride back and forth from work every day on San Francisco’s mass transit I see a lot of tired, worried faces. Everyone is there—young, old, immigrant, professional, laborer, student, mother, child, gay, straight, homeless—every nationality, every ethnicity. Everyone is there, except, of course, the elite members of society. The elite do not generally ride on mass transit. I see all these tired faces and I think they are not yearning to listen to the rich, famous, and powerful argue about who’s wrong and who’s guilty. They don’t want the leaders of our communities and nation to quarrel. They want our leaders to do their job.
That is why I am proposing a National Time Out Day. For one day, our nation’s political and business leaders, judges, celebrities, talking heads, news analysts, and sports icons will have to shut up. I propose that National Time Out Day be held on February 12, the anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, since Lincoln was not a leader who wasted the nation’s time with petty blame and bickering. Members of Congress, the Supreme Court, and the Executive branch could all gather on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, where they would face out on a sea of overpaid lobbyists, who would of course also be required to shut up for this one glorious day.
Meanwhile, the people who make our communities work—the teachers, police, firefighters, medical workers, ministers, military personnel, parents, volunteers, cooks, dishwashers, farmers, mechanics, construction workers, small business people, librarians, city clerks, postal workers, etc.—can continue with the work that builds and sustains this great nation, unimpeded by overpaid people with large egos blathering on about who did what to whom when. Maybe we’ll get something done.