Our Government: Barney Fife
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 by Frank Shortt
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Andy Taylor had a deputy named Barney Fife. He was as inept as he was a very great nuisance! He always took the other direction from Andy’s ideas until proven wrong. Then, and only then, was he willing to give up his badge and single bullet that he carried around in his shirt pocket. Also, Barney was always blaming someone else for his mistakes!

Andy was very patient with Barney. He was always making excuses for him to the other citizens of Mayberry. Anytime Barney got into trouble, Andy would be right there bailing him out. Why did Andy do this? It was because he was Barney’s friend and one does not give up friends easily. Andy also had grown used to all of Barney’s failures, insomuch, that they had grown on him and this is what he expected Barney to do. Andy became as much a part of the problem as Barney himself. But, that was old time television! It is not funny anymore as lives are in the balance!

Today in Washington D.C. we have another Barney Fife. It is both branches of Congress. We, the people, are Andy Taylor! Congress has become very inept. They cannot think above the badge they wear on their chest, and they, seemingly, only have one bullet. That bullet is always straight to the heart of anyone who disagrees with their politics.  Our Barney is taking the other direction from the ideals of Andy Taylor. How can we show our Barney Fife how wrong they have been? How many members of the body of Barney Fife are willing to give up their badge of authority and their one bullet that they carry around even when their mistakes are assuredly being pointed out by article after article by writers around the globe? Their inability to get anything done for the American people is deadlocked because of members of the body of Barney Fife making sure that they are going to receive enough votes to stay in the deputyship of our Mayberry!

We, the Andy Taylors of the United States of America, have been very patient with Barney Fife. We have heard all the excuses being made for the members of that body. We have bailed them out every time they failed us. Why have we done this? Because Barney Fife represents the very heart of our Mayberry and the Red, White, and Blue! They are our friends and neighbors who we have sent off to Washington to represent US! It is very hard for us to give up our friends in Congress. Have we, like Andy Taylor, become so accustomed to Barney’s failures that our expectations will only allow our Barney to fail? Have we become so much a part of the problem as Barney himself? Have we become so complacent that we are afraid to speak out for fear of offending Barney?

Lately, there have been some very outspoken advocates for changes in the Barney Fife system! They are very critical of Barney, but do they have any solutions to Barney’s problem, outside the overthrow of the present leader? Oh, it is such a mess! Barney’s bullet keeps on hitting the target of the leader of the whole body. When will old Barney ever wake up and realize that he is just not cut out to be a leader of men? When is Andy Taylor ever going to say, “Barney, enough is enough? Give me your badge of authority and the bullet that you keep replenishing somehow! When will Andy Taylor ever wake up?