Blogs by Rep Bob Lynn

Blog site of Representative Bob Lynn, Alaska House of Representatives,District 31 Anchorage, Alaska. Blogs consist of public comments during legislative sessions, speeches, political commentary, as well as personal observations, and some journal type entries. Comments are invited.

Location: Anchorage, Alaska, United States

Member of the Alaska State House of Represeentatives since 2003. US Air Force, Retired; military bandsman; F94C interceptor pilot; Vietnam service as radar controller (Monkey Mountain), radar site commander(Pleiku); Government Contract Management; Public school Teacher, Retired. Married 55 years to Marlene Wagner Lynn, 6 children, 20 grandchildren, 1 great-grandchild. Member St. Elizabeth Ann Seaton Church. Former Tucson Arizona policeman, Ambulance Driver and Mortician's Assistant, Realtor (currently on referral status).

Friday, June 27, 2008


I’m about up-to-here with "can’t do" attitudes from perennial pessimists. These are the kind the sky-is-falling-gloom-and-doom folks I call "abominable no men." Name the subject: Abominable No Men are against it. In their scheme of things, if someone with an opinion other than theirs succeeds, the world will end as we know it.

Abominable No Men have always been with us. Christopher Columbus’s was once called a "dreamer." He responded by asking the Abominable No Men of his time to look out the window. Columbus asked, "What do you see?" They responded, "We see townes. We see palaces. We see steeples. We see civilization and spirals that reach to the sky." To this Christopher Columbus responded, "All created by people like me. Not you." Now I wasn't there - I'm not as old as some people may claim - but that's what Columbus is what reported to have said.

If these same people, then as now, had learned some genius was inventing the internal combustion engine, the airplane, computers, zippers, safety pins, or the hula hoop - they would have said, "You’re a dreamer" and "it couldn’t work," and would have opposed it. Worse yet, Abominable No Men squeal in delight whenever something new is proposed - and it fails. Or it might fail. Or could fail.

Even if every expert in the known universe testifies that the odds are good that something will succeed, well - there is a chance it might turn out bad. In fairness, that’s true. It might. There’s also a chance that, when we take a walk for our health, we could be hit by a meteorite from a far corner of outer space. From this possibility, Abominable No Men conclude walking could be bad for one's health, so no one should do it.

On those rare occasions when I do take a walk, I prefer hoping to find gold than dread falling objects from the sky.

Political establishments of both the left and the right are full of abominable no men. That explains much of why it’s so difficult to get anything done. If someone in the legislature were to introduce a resolution in favor of the sun coming up in the east tomorrow, the No-Men would oppose it.

The easiest targets for Abominable No Men are individuals who propose something that’s never been done before, or that is maybe just a little bit different. The target could be a popular governor, a legislator, or your next door neighbor. No-Men typically transfer their negativity of the idea to the person proposing it, or supporting it. When logic isn’t convenient, who needs it?
It can be convenient however, for political operatives, who know better, to benefit from the acts of abominable no men as a means to an end. Win or lose the end, plausible deniability can be an operative’s best friend.

None of this means that thoughtless Pollyannaism - the goody goody polar opposite of abominable no men - is a good thing. It’s not. In reality, few things except moral absolutes are all good or all bad. My vote goes to practical optimism: a realistic positive view of things.
Is obsessive negativity learned behavior or congenital (nature versus nurture)? I don’t know.

Whatever, no one should be in politics unless they're a practical optimist. Likewise, no one should be a teacher, cop, in the clergy, or most certainly a parent, unless practical optimism is a way of life. It’s a sad state of affairs when one is perennially convinced nothing can be improved. I feel sorry for Abominable No Men. But a word of caution please: Abominable No Men can be contagious.


Blogger snowman said...

You are so right, Bob. I too am disgusted with the whiney can't-do politics.

In particular, things like "We can't possibly bring oil online in less than 10 years" or "We can't possibly build a bridge across the Knik" or "We can't possibly get a road from America to Alaska in time to affect the war." Oh wait.. guess we did that.

11:00 AM  

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