The Sky is on Fire
First, I would like to apologize to the two or three people who read this blog for not posting in a while. My Editor/Producer and her husband were in town and I had to entertain them. They are very high maintenance and I really don't want to piss them off. For better or worse I am back.
Why is the sky on fire? If you have read, listened to, or watched the news in the last few months, or last few years, it is obvious that we as a nation are in crisis. Depending on which news bubble you are tuned in to, we are either being taken over by communist, socialist, satanic mobs bent on the destruction of everything good. Or we are facing a white supremacist, nazi, ignorance-loving plot to destroy democracy and install a North Korea-like state. It's pretty grim.
The grievances of these groups are many and so varied that it would be near impossible to reconcile them at all. Some grievances don't make sense and some contradict each other. However, there appears to be one similar thread that runs through both sides and that is the belief that the government has failed them, that the government does not listen to them, that it does not pass laws that help them. Politicians will agree and point to the government as having failed the people, throw out the term “deep state,” and lay the blame squarely where it does not belong. This is a favorite tactic of Republicans, but both sides do it. The problem with that charge is that those same politicians who yell about the deep state and government not working for the people ARE THE GOVERNMENT!
Government workers, bureaucrats, professionals do their jobs based, in general, on the laws, policies, and budgets enacted by politicians. The ones failing the American people are the politicians. They yell about the government so as to draw anger away from themselves and the responsibility they have to govern. They are trying to avoid blame for their failures to deliver to the American people. They are fine with their support for corporate America, but they have and continue to fail the American people.
Why do they continue to fail you? There are as many reasons as there are politicians, but there are some common ones. Start with the fact that in many instances they don't need you. Some politicians need you every two, four, or six years when you come out to vote. But way too many politicians are in safe districts, districts that have been gerrymandered all to hell where there is little to no chance of not being elected in the next election. This is becoming more prevalent. If this trend of limiting and restricting voting becomes the norm, it will be as if politicians elect themselves without the need to turn to the American people.
Another reason politicians continue to fail you is money. Elections are expensive and politicians are drawn to the money that helps pay for them. And let's not forget the jobs politicians get when, if, they retire, courtesy of corporate America and the friends they have made along the way. There is nothing illegal about it, but it sure does smell of corruption. Who are you going to help the most: the person who gives you money and potential future employment or the masses who might or might not show up to vote, and then maybe not for you?
Politicians, like most people, want job security. They do everything necessary to not only stay in the job but to advance even higher. Many will do anything to stay in power or obtain more power. And if throwing the people under the bus gets them that power, so be it.
But there is plenty of blame to throw around. You, the American people, are also to blame. You keep reelecting these very same people who fail you. You will latch on to one key issue that interests you, whether it is immigration or replacement by "them," canceling student debt, etc., instead of looking at the bigger picture, the benefit to the nation as a whole. I understand the passion around some of these issues. I understand the importance of some of these issues. But you are returning the same useless politicians to power over and over again, and then complain when they fail you. You allow yourself to be lied to, manipulated, and base your decisions on pointless fear. The politicians take advantage of you.
You don't do the research necessary to make an intelligent decision on a particular issue. You limit yourself to easily digestible sound bites that confirm what you already believe rather than looking at an issue from multiple angles, multiple sources, and doing what is best for the nation. You not only allow politicians to manipulate you, but you also encourage them and you participate in that manipulation.
To be fair to politicians, there are some good ones out there. They are there to do the job they were elected to do, they govern, they try to do the right thing for the American people. But those that don't do their job work to get the most out of the headlines, which nowadays, is as good as actually governing.
What to do? I would recommend some simple steps, simple but not easy to do. First, start with term limits, for everyone: House, Senate, Supreme Court. You might lose some good ones in the process but you will surely clean out the deadwood as well.
Second, limit the amount of money individuals can spend on elections. I know this will be hard to accomplish, given that we have a Supreme Court that believes not only that corporations are people, but that one dollar equals one vote, not one person one vote. Money is the major corrupting influence in politics. Many politicians will only see constituents if they donate to the campaign. We need to get money out of politics so that your vote becomes more important than someone else's money.
Third, limit the amount of time one can campaign for public office. Politicians spend most of their time asking for money and running for office. It leaves little time for actually doing one's job. Reduce campaign time and leave more time for governing. This, coupled with term limits, might make elected officials more focused on doing a good job.
I think these are common-sense proposals that would improve the work of our representatives, but I also acknowledge that they would be very difficult to enact. Politicians don't generally like term limits because it eliminates the gravy train. Corporations and the wealthy don't want a cap on campaign spending and campaigning, because it eliminates one of the ways they get their hooks into politicians and that is how they get them to enact laws that benefit them and stack the deck in their favor. Many will argue on the basis that it interferes with freedom of speech, but since when is the creation of an oligarchy freedom of speech?
Finally, I would like to express my deepest thanks to my Editor/Producer, who also happens to be my daughter, Angela, for all the work and help she has devoted to this blog. The few things that are good are a result of her efforts, the remaining bad is mine.