Significant Thought – Part 5 “Big Brother is Watching You is Sooo 1984”

Welcome back sports fans!

Hopefully you’re here because you enjoyed the first half of my series last week. Though, if you’re here for the first time, I’d suggest going back and reading my first article here. It’s an easy read and I don’t’ have the bounteous vocabulary I would need to appropriately describe how well written it was.

Last week I teased an article on the Purple Line, but due to some technical difficulties, that post has been moved to tomorrow.



“Big Brother is Watching You is Sooo 1984”

I want to make it clear that my primary goal is to show that government can make life better, but only if we get involved. Ronald Reagan once famously said, “My fellow Americans, I’m pleased to tell you today that I’ve signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes.”

While that is an actual quote from our former President, that’s not the Reagan quote I want to focus on today. That quote is, “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.’”

I can’t tell you how much I disagree with this. I believe, strongly, that government only fails when the community is not involved. Government ONLY works as a partnership.

Government strives to make our lives better in a multitude of ways. One is by working for our protection. Hundreds of organizations exist to do this in a variety of ways. Some examples being the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security, the Food and Drug Administration, and one local one you’ve likely not heard of, the Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC). Lets talk about two specific issues the PSC deals with real quick.

  • The first are taxicabs. Cab drivers need to comply with certain standards to ensure for our safety and from ripping off tourists. Well the PSC is in charge of is regulating taxicabs.  So how does Uber, the app based service that “puts passengers and drivers together,” fit in here? Right now there’s a big fight brewing between Uber and local cab companies, the biggest in MoCo being Barwood.

Well the County is asking Uber why they don’t need to comply with these PSC rules that govern other traditional cab companies. Uber is über-popular these days. Do you use them? Do you love them? Well, your vote can greatly affect the company’s future in MoCo.

  • I’d be remiss if in a series dealing with elected officials, I didn’t discuss power.  Power, more specifically power companies, is another area the PSC regulates. I’ve shown I’m a betting man, and I’ll bet you know about Pepco. For me, when I bought my first home with my wife, we lost power for over 24 hours six times in our first year in our condo. It moved me to testify in Annapolis on my experiences. After a lot of press and pressure Pepco started to make improvements, some mandated by the government. In the last two years I lived in that condo, we lost power a few times, but never for very long.

Was this improvement because Pepco felt the government and public pressure and significantly improved their performance? Or was it because they happened to improve the grid we lived on, which just happened to be shared by the Red Cross emergency response building, two senior living facilities and a church? I’m not sure; I do know however, that I heard a lot about Pepco during the last primary campaign.

“So are you better off today than you were four years ago?” Another Reagan quote, from an attack on incumbent President Jimmy Carter’s record. The same question should be asked constantly, but no time is better than the present. Elections are a chance for you as a citizen to tell your leaders how they are doing by telling them how you’re doing. Are you better off? It’s not the only time you can give feedback, but it’s perhaps the best opportunity to be heard.

As another President said, Bill Clinton, “there’s nothing wrong with America that can’t be cured with what’s right with America.” Voting is for sure what is right with America. When you decide if you’ll vote in the upcoming elections, think about our neighbors to the south in Washington D.C. To them, representation is the purest example of what’s right with America.

So vote!



We’ve had a visit from the Ghost of Government Past in discussing the transit center. The Ghost of Government Present visited us today for our discussion of current events. Tomorrow, the Ghost of Government Future stops by to “color” up my series a bit (I know I already revealed what tomorrow’s post is, but who can resist a good foreshadowing opportunity!).


Significant Thought the complete series:

Significant Thought – Part 1

Significant Thought – Part 2

Significant Thought – Part 3

Significant Thought – Part 4

Significant Thought – Part 5

Significant Thought – Part 6

Significant Thought – Part 7

Significant Thought – Part 8

Abe Saffer
I am a Congressional lobbyist for the American Occupational Therapy Association, focusing on issues dealing with education for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities. I've been active in politics and advocacy in Montgomery County, having served on the board of the Montgomery County Young Democrats, managed multiple local campaigns, and worked for Delegate Jeff Waldstreicher (D-18). In 2012 I received my Masters in Political Management with a concentration in political communication and campaigns from the Georges Washington University. I live in 20910 (Silver Spring) with my wife, Tonya. In my free time, I run the 2038 Congressional campaign for my son, Carson.

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