Thursday, July 9, 2015


Well, gosh, we need a new scandal so how about this:

New McDonalds Happy Meal Toy Has a Dirty Mouth

Yes, you heard that right. Parents and grandparents from all over are apparently outraged that the adorably little Minion toy appears to say "What the f*ck?"

Oh my goodness. I just don't think I can climb on board this anger train. Whereas that unusual Playdoh toy really did look questionable, this sliver of audio is guilty of nothing but sounding like something else. Let's face it: if the hearer did not already know the expression, "what the f*ck?", then that arrangement of sounds would not leap out.

Our brains are playing a trick here--they are wired to create meaning from things around them. When we mistakenly decipher song lyrics on the radio or engage in the age-old game of saying what the clouds look like, we are using our brains to assign meaning, find a pattern, make sense of something. In so doing we can use only the information that we have.

Over the last week our local political scene has been abuzz with something akin to this episode of Between the Lions, where the entire library becomes polarized by the question of whether someone is wearing a red hat or a green hat. We have had both civilized discourse and some downright nastiness.

Yesterday I saw one response which began, "the way I see it..." I can't describe how refreshing it was to read those words, even though I agreed with none of what followed. Indeed each side can only go on the information they have, which forms the way they see it.

That is why we have both the County Executive and the County Council. That is why the people also have a role participating in the process. We need more than one point of view. This comment on Tuesday's post (Balancing Act) says it brilliantly:

I can understand an incoming County Executive wanting to make "their" appointments. But as a constituent, the common-sense part of me wants to know from Kittleman: Why are you removing people from volunteer positions who still want to stay and seem like they have been doing a decent job in those positions? What qualifications and skills will the incoming person bring that the outgoing person does not have?

Although I'm a registered Democrat, I am not beholden to all things Democrat and do not pose the questions above from some "us-versus-Republicans" viewpoint. I simply think it is common sense for the County Executive to tell the public the answers to such questions. Otherwise it comes off as one big peeing contest.

If we want to get beyond this impasse, the County Executive will need to share information, negotiate, and collaborate. The County Council must be willing to engage in that process in good faith. That's clearly what is missing here.

For all of you who have been saying, "That's just not how politics works!" I have a question: how well is it working right now?



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