Of Denzel, fireworks, layoffs and lockouts

“Explain it to me like I’m a 6-year-old.”

That was the favorite line of Joe Miller, the lawyer played by Denzel Washington in the movie “Philadelphia.”

Behind the surface self-deprecation of those words lies some real steel.

Explain it to me like I’m a 6-year-old. In other words, your position makes sense only if you buy into a bunch of encrusted assumptions, a narrow world view. It might not make sense to the naïve common sense of a person who hasn’t yet had loads of nonsense masquerading as realism dumped on his head.

When I look around the landscape, I see a bunch of odd behavior I’d like to have explained to me as if I were a 6-year-old.

Such as:

Why is it OK to sell fireworks in Pennsylvania, but only to people who don’t live in Pennsylvania?

Explain that to me like I’m a 6-year-old.

Why is it OK for an elected body like Philadelphia City Council not to meet for the entire summer, when it has a pile of significant tasks in its in-box?

How can a governor say all the decisions he’s making are about creating a better business climate for his state, then turn around and cut $1.1 billion from the program—public education—responsible for supplying the state’s businesses with trained and reliable workers?

Roll that number around on your tongue for a moment—$1.1 billion—then explain this decision to me like I’m a 6-year-old whose favorite teacher just got laid off.

And how is it that some politicians’ best solution to unemployment is laying off more people. Explain it to me like I’m a 6-year-old how workers who happen to work for government somehow don’t count as people whose joblessness should bother us.

At the other end of the compensation scale, how could two wildly successful sports leagues—the NBA and NFL—have done such a lousy job of working on their labor issues that each in on the brink of a season-ending lockout?

Explain that to me like I’m a 6-year-old with posters of my favorite players plastered over my bedroom.

How can politicians declare an urgent national fiscal crisis, then get away with declaring half of the possible solutions to said crisis “off the table” because they don’t fit into a preconceived ideology?

Explain that one to me like I’m a 6-year-old.

If you can, then hustle down to Washington to help the misbehaving children there reach a solution before the federal debt ceiling gets hit August 2.

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