Monday, July 18, 2011

Congressional Priorities like Lost Rainbow Toads?

The Rainbow Toad of Borneo gives me hope.

Last seen in 1924, the spindly-legged creature was dismissed as extinct by the less-than-faithful among amphibian specialists in the scientific community.  Yet, it lives.  It survived in obscurity. 

The precise location of the adult male, adult female, and juvenile toads found in three separate trees in the Penrissen Mountains of Borneo is protected by the scientists of Washington-based Conservation International.  Poachers seeking brightly hued amphibians cannot be trusted.

Think of it – not seen in 87 years, but alive, well, and perhaps most remarkable, not forgotten!  If the Rainbow Toad can resurface, why, so could good manners in public places.  Even generosity.  We might find and revive courtesy on the roadways.  Dare I say it?  We could see cooperative policy making in Washington, D.C.

Maybe it’s not too far-fetched to harken back to the days when our elected representatives recognized the common goals of our country.  They worked on our country’s issues with a problem-solving approach, once, ‘way back when.  They understood the well-being of our country ranked above their party loyalty and their re-election didn’t they?

If scientists can find a 2-inch toad in Borneo after it spent 87 years alone in the rain forest, maybe politicians can find courage in Congress today.

If that little toad survived all this time, minding his own business, clinging to trees, being beautiful, contributing to the ecosystem, doing his part when we weren’t looking, maybe Democrats and Republicans can take a lesson.

Of course, there is another, less encouraging angle on the “long lost” phenomenon.  It’s reflected in the love letter rescued from the dead letter purgatory of the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, post office, and now on its way to its intended recipient after 53 years.

Since the letter, signed, “Love forever,” was written to Clark C. Moore, he has married twice, fathered 21 children, retired from teaching, converted to Islam, and become a Muslim cleric.

The 74-year-old Moore, now known as Siddeeq, currently lives in Indianapolis and says he waits with mixed emotions for the letter to arrive in his mailbox.

"I'm curious,” he told reporters, “but I'm not sure I'd put it under the category of 'looking forward to it.’”

He and the letter’s author married later in the year it was written, 1958, and had four children before divorcing.  They no longer speak.

Siddeeq told reporters that the romantic piece of mail is "just a testament of the sincerity, interest and innocence of that time."

Well I wouldn’t entrust the fate of the Rainbow Toad of Borneo to him!  How cold!  How cynical!
OK, maybe we can never recover our innocence.  But sincerity and interest forever gone?  Say it ain’t so!

I hope our elected officials can reach into their hearts and minds and find the sincerity and interest that inspired them to seek office in the first place.

I hope they will muster the mettle to step up in the face of the jaded around them.  It’s pretty important. 

We don’t just need a new debt ceiling; we need thoughtful restructuring of our borrowing, spending, and raising of funds.  We need stable funding, I repeat, stable funding for our schools.
We need accountability and justice for the engineers of the bank failures.  We need jobs!
We need to stop spending $10 billion per DAY on wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  We could feed hungry people at home and around the world. 

No more blaming.  No more posturing.  No more lost interest in the work or false sincerity of effort.  The American economy is not a lost love letter.  The sentiments of the American people cannot be dismissed as a quaint reminder of times gone by.

Washington scientists placed the Rainbow Toad on the “Top 10 Most Wanted Lost Frogs” list (really).  They persisted in their search and found him.  Let’s hope his location doesn’t become his undoing.

Some of us are like the lost Rainbow Toad of Borneo, making it just fine on our own, thank you.  We often wish Washington would quit focusing on our stuff and leave us alone. 

But too many of us are not doing fine.  Too many may be unable to survive and thrive without a team of representatives who will go to the ends of the earth on their behalf.

Maybe Washington could establish a “Top 10 Most Wanted Lost Priorities” list and start working on that.