Another Point of View and Sausage Making

Kate Rhoades
Neosho Daily News

ANOTHER POINT OF VIEW is the banner under which this column ran for as long as the Neosho News used these banners. Without it, our mission is less obvious. So in this new year, we’d like to reintroduce our mission and promise an expanded global view.

Almost 6 years ago the paper’s citizen advisory board requested more diversity on the opinion page. To that end, a number of citizens were recruited to provide additional viewpoints about public affairs.

Originally our columnists all lived in SW Missouri. But one has since moved to Colorado and, as a volunteer at Rocky Mountain National Park, has new insights. We also have shared a variety of views from occasional guest writers. We now hope to introduce new national and global perspectives as we invite guest writers from around the globe.

In the meantime, in the waning days of a chaotic administration, I’d like to comment on the making of sausage. Otto von Bismarck, the conservative German statesman who united Germany in 1871, once said “Laws are like sausages, it is better not to see them being made.”

I’d like to expand upon that thought. There are many, many different kinds of sausages to cater to the huge number of consumers with varying tastes. But each piece of legislation must encompass the tastes of hundreds in government, containing components to please the majority of 535 members in Congress, or 2/3 of both houses IF the president does not agree with them. As we have seen with the recent Covid Relief Bill, this is an exceedingly difficult task!! For months none of the leaders were able to accomplish this.

Finally a small, dedicated “problem-solver” bipartisan group from both houses persevered and found just the right ingredients to fit the taste of 2/3 of its members. The President COULD have participated in the negotiations to add just the right spices to please his palate. Indeed, Congress thought he WAS represented by his Secretary of the Treasury and had Trump’s blessing for this bill.

But instead, Trump acted like an angry CEO of a private company and decided to throw weeks of legislative work under the bus AFTER the bill had been passed. Yes, this sausage has ingredients that could be seen as unnecessary to some, or not enough meat for others, but each “spice” was added as part of a complicated compromise process. Angry tweets and impulsive, last-minute decisions show poor leadership. A good leader would have been involved in the process from the beginning, and we can look forward to a change of leadership style soon.

Thankfully, the evening after Republican senator Pat Toomey said Trump will be “remembered for chaos and misery and erratic behavior” if he lets COVID-19 relief expire, the President signed this much-needed piece of legislation and put out the fire he started himself. However he is correct that more help will be needed as the pandemic is unlikely to end any time soon. This will be an early test of the incoming administration’s negotiation skills, as well as an indication of whether Congress will return to “regular order,” as the late Senator John McCain put it.

"Another Point of View" is a column written by rotating authors dedicated to providing a variety of perspectives on life and politics.