Watching TV one night during dinner I turned it to the Antiques Roadshow. (Yee Haw! I just visited the site to make sure I had their URL correct and noticed I could perform a search!)
Ok, so you may already think the Antiques Roadshow is a fun way to learn history.
I am writing this short essay because when I saw this episode and heard this story and the appraiser's line, I thought it was so funny, and appropriate, I wrote it down on a little note-paper. That paper kicked around and I'm finally writing it up here.
The upshot of this short segment of Antiques Roadshow is that back in World War 1 the United States Government asked citizens to help out with the war effort. One of those ways was to donate needed items.
It seems this person's relative donated a pair of binoculars.
However, the AMAZING part of the story is the government actually returned them when they were done! And with a thank you letter. (Part of what made the binoculars so valuable was who wrote the thank you note sent along with the returned binoculars, if you're interested, visit the links above and check it out.)
The part that I found so funny, was the appraiser said, "So, at one time, at least, the government was efficient."
I bet if you told someone the government was going to take something, they wouldn't be surprised; then if you told them the government would also return it, they'd laugh in your face.
I sure hope Barack Obama can instill a serious sense of responsibility in folks running our government. It seems they love to waste, waste, waste, 1000 times more than being efficient or "reduce, reuse, and recycle." As in "let's buy thousands more trailers than we need, and let's buy trailers with excessive formaldehyde." Or, "let's buy tons of household items for hurricane Katrina victims, but then let's put them in a warehouse and not distribute them, but instead pay huge warehouse fees."
Or, "let's try to get the Iraqis to be like us, and build hugely expensive prisons to put its citizens in." "Instead of spending $80 million on our own US citizens, making their lives better, let's throw half of that away on building a useless prison; surely they can adopt our holier-than-thou attitude and imprison many people just like we have. Then, once they privatize the prison system, it too can profit by czar-y strict laws, and bleed society dry by imprisoning them."
Or, "let's do exactly the things we decry in our very own Declaration of Independence, like excessive government paperwork."
This would all be so funny, if it weren't such an amazing crying shame!