Governments need a push to overcome their inertia

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

Two stories in A.M. Costa Rica point to the oppression of government.  The first is the story of a U.S. veteran whose housekeeper cannot get a visa to go to the States to care for his convalescence. The second is the story of Costa Ricans who cannot get a simple building permit for a sheltered bus stop.

The problem is Newton’s First Law of Physics. (First law: When viewed in an inertial reference frame, an object either is at rest or moves at a constant velocity, unless acted upon by an external force.) If only we could get that law repealed!

In layman’s terms, Newton’s First Law says that a government worker sitting on his dead mental ass will stay there unless someone does something to get him (or her, of course) to move. This failure of initiative is probably based on fear — fear of making a mistake and having the supervisor get angry.

But there is a solution! The way through the morass is in the second part of the law — “unless acted upon by an external force.” All government is designed to maintain the status quo, but public action and political pressure can change things. It takes work. Your publishing these stories is part of the work, and your reader’s responses are another.

So how about if readers contact the U.S. Embassy and ask about the status of the veteran? How about if A.M. Costa Rica advices us where (and when) the local residents will be meeting about the bus stop?

Maybe we can do something, rather than ourselves being part of Newton’s First Law.

John French
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