the Guys

I took my truck in to have some service work done this morning. After dropping it off I walked down to the local McDonald’s for breakfast. Just as I was finishing off a second McMuffin my phone rang, and as these things go my one hour service job suddenly became a three hour repair job. As I had some time on my hands I took the opportunity to do a little people watching.

I had taken up temporary residence in a quiet corner of the restaurant where I had a pretty good view of the action. I watched as the customers came and went. I observed the bustle behind the counter as the employees went about their business. It was all pretty ordinary fare for a Friday morning McDonald’s, even down to the “Guys.”

The Guys are as much a staple of McDonald’s as is Ronald. No matter where in the world you go to a McDonald’s restaurant, during a particular part of the day, most every day of the week you will find, the Guys. They are a group of men, usually retired but not always, who gather over cups of steaming coffee for discussion. They sit and sip coffee and discuss current events and politics and philosophy and girls and cars and physical ailments and absent friends and whatever else comes up. And, at some point someone will approach their table and with genuine cheer they will say, “Hi Guys!”

But, there was something different about the Guys this morning. Maybe it was the way they were positioned around the table that made it look more like a Board meeting than a gathering of the Guys. Perhaps it was their obvious ease with their surroundings that made them seem somehow, authoritative. I watched them, these silver haired elders, as they discussed the current topic with energy and animation. It occurred to me that if you replaced the baseball caps and the denim and fleece and flannel and tennis shoes with expensive suits, shirts, ties, and dress shoes, and then if you plucked these men from their seats and deposited them around a conference table in a swank office they would look exactly like the men of Congress and other politicians that we see on television.

And why couldn’t they be? What’s the difference between these men sitting around a table at McDonald’s, and the men and women on Capitol Hill whom we entrust to make decisions that effect our lives and the lives of our children? Is it intelligence? I don’t think so. This Country is swarming with intelligent people, and our politicians have not proven to be exceptionally intelligent or insightful. Is it wealth? Some of the wealthiest have tried and couldn’t get elected. The only difference between the Guys at McDonald’s and the Guys on the Hill is connections. Those with the connections get the votes.

So, why do we entrust them with our lives? The Guys at McDonald’s looked like a smart upstanding group of men, but I wouldn’t entrust them with my life or the future of my children. And yet, that’s exactly what we do with the Guys on the Hill every day. We elect ’em and forget ’em, and then if our lives aren’t better when the next election cycle comes around we elect someone else who promises change. The change we need is not going to come from government or occur within government. The change is going to have to come from us. Ideas, Solutions, Insistence; that is the change we need.

The time is come to pay attention, to step up, and to make your voice heard. Stop looking to government for the answers. Government doesn’t hold the answers; government holds the purse strings, and as long as it does you are at its mercy. Learn about the FairTax plan. It returns control of your money to you. It’s our best hope of restoring sanity to our government. And, it will only happen when enough people rise up and demand it.


Tim Couch