Wrong mailbox

There’s the view that public policy is like a mailbox from which we send important messages and in which we receive a lot of junk mail.

Have you noticed, though, just how mismatched curb-side, free-standing mailboxes can be compared to the houses that stand behind them? Where I live, the mailbox may be weathered, flaked or chipped, even rusting, while the house behind is cared for, grand-looking sometimes. But inside the house, anything goes! Indoors, they’re way more interesting.

So, we have misleading mailboxes in front of misleading facades to insides whose good and bad messes no one can really see from outside-in. Contrary to the illusion of policies as mailboxes, the policies we send and receive scarcely reflect all the busy, domestic life of the palimpsests they really are.

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