Biff America: You say potato, I say tomato
“The belief that there is only one truth, and that oneself is in possession of it, is the root of all evil.” — Max Born
I believe Born’s assertion is well put and true. We would all be better served to search for that balance.
In fact, when I argue with friends — about politics, religion or policy — I challenge each of us to maintain one point from the other side. Because in truth, there are few issues, causes or arguments that do not have two edges.
Say I’m debating a friend about the worth of nationalized health care, Trump vs. Biden, or whether sustainability should take precedence over commerce. I suggest we both offer one point that supports the other’s perspective. I have found this keeps the discussion more civil and also weeds out the zealots.
This works for everything except arguing the pros and cons of lima beans.
But this column is not about debate or discussion. Rather it’s an attempt to find common ground on issues that we can (hopefully) all agree on — like that Sean Connery was the best James Bond ever.
So here goes:
It ticks me off when people ask, “Penny for your thoughts.” My thoughts are worth well over a nickel.
Let’s get rid of pennies. It will cost about 2.4 cents this year to mint one penny. America will spend over $46 million to mint a coin that most of us find little more than an annoyance. Why can’t we just all agree to round up or down to the nearest nickel? In other words, if your purchase comes to $25.02, you pay $25. And in contrast, if your purchase comes to $25.03, you pay $25.05.
I would also go so far as to suggest we eliminate all coins smaller than a quarter, but I’m sure there is stuff I have not considered, so I’ll say we should start small. To coin a phrase, let us consider a change in how we deal with change.
Daylight saving time
Only the government would believe you could cut off a foot from the top of a blanket, sew it on the bottom and have a longer blanket.
Supposedly, Ben Franklin first suggested the concept of daylight saving time, but the powers that be at the time told him to “go fly a kite.”
Harry Truman called it “the monstrosity in timekeeping.” It was adopted at varying times and varying places in the early 1900s. I think Thunder Bay, Ontario, was the first in 1908. The idea was to spring forward in March to create an extra hour of daylight, thus allowing folks to work outside longer and save energy.
My suggestion is to just pick one. Arizona does not practice daylight saving time because it doesn’t want any more daylight in the summer, when it can be wicked hot. If it were up to me, I’d say stay on daylight saving time year-round. That said, I can see both sides: With shorter days, I’d save money on sunscreen.
A few more
- Teachers, cops, firefighters, columnists and dispensary workers should be paid more. (OK, perhaps my bias is showing.)
- America should switch to the metric system, but hopefully after I’m dead.
- Mega-churches should be taxed. I’m not talking about your neighborhood house of worship; I’m talking about the ones where the pastors own private jets.
- Letting your dog poop in someone’s yard and not picking it up should be a crime.
Now this last one might have repercussions that I have not considered, but I’m going to put it up the flagpole to see if anyone salutes or I get hate mail.
All state and federal political campaigns should last two months, and every candidate who makes it on the ballot should get the same amount of campaign funds to spend the best way they see fit. Politics has become too much about money — and not money from voters but from super PACs and special-interest groups. In many cases, the day after an elected official gets into office, they have to begin raising funds for their next election.
I’m sorry to say that I can’t think of much else that I could get across-the-board buy-in. I think all of us would be better served if we could agree to disagree while trying to see the issue from both sides.
Except, of course, that lima beans should be outlawed.
Jeffrey Bergeron’s column “Biff America” publishes Mondays in the Summit Daily News. Bergeron has worked in TV and radio for more than 30 years, and his column can be read in several newspapers and magazines. He is the author of “Mind, Body, Soul.” Bergeron arrived in Breckenridge when there was plenty of parking and no stop lights. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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