Diaries Magazine

'Future Generations' Can Count on a 'comprehensive Plan'

Posted on the 20 March 2013 by Cfburch4 @cfburch4

At some point during my gluttonous consumption of news media, I realized that politicians have a favorite answer to difficult questions about immigration reform, the debt ceiling, environmental concerns, and just about anything that requires taking a specifc, hard-nosed position.

"What we need is a comprehensive plan," they say, adding that the plan must help "future generations."

That's a great answer -- when you don't have a clue what to do, call on everyone to come up with a comprehensive plan that solves the problem or addresses the issue.

That takes the the focus off the politician and dumps it on a big, unweildy, faceless political body that no one likes, like, Congress, or Washington, D.C., or Columbia, or Raleigh, N.C., or "the state house."

"Compresensive plans" for "future generations" have become all the rage. Go to your favorite search engine, click the news tab and plug in those two phrases in quotation marks. See what you get.

Former Senator Blanche Lincoln, a Democrat from Arkansas, used the phrases in a blog post for The Hill, a D.C.-based political news outfit.

The Iowa City Press-Citizen quoted the leader of an advocacy group saying, "Our Comprehensive Plan requires city leaders to consider the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs."

Elsewhere, Congressmen call for comprehensize plans to help future generations. Editorial writers call for the same thing. The topic could be oil and natural gas, or the national debt, or local environmentmental concerns. Everyone wants a "comprehensive plan" to help "future generations."

Despite my cynicism about comprehensive plans ever being approved by actual legislative bodies (consider the plight of Simpson-Bowles), I'm worried that "comprehensive plan for future generations" and variations will become a kind of "thought-terminating cliche'," or a quick-and-easy answer that goes unquestioned.

Worse yet, maybe a call for a "comprehensive plan" with references to "future generations" will become, practically speaking, a call for inaction.

A politician can say he wants a comprehensive plan without ever doing the hard work -- or taking the hard stand -- to come up with one and fight for one. After all, once you take a stand, someone is going to hate you, write nasty tweets about you, and blog you over the head with thought-terminating cliches about your character.

Each time I hear someone respond to an interviewer's question with a call for a "comprehensive plan," I'm pretty sure he doesn't have a clue what the details of such a plan would be.

George Orwell warned us about the possibility of over-used phrases becoming devoid of meaning. I'm pretty sure any call for a "comprehensive plan" that references "future generations" is quickly arriving at that place of meaninglessness.

-Colin Foote Burch

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog

Paperblog Hot Topics