Search This Blog

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Me, Now, Here

Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country (John F. Kennedy)

Many of our politicians in Congress would do well to revisit this truth by one of our greatest Presidents. Their vision is limited to ME, NOW, HERE. It should be, of course, THEM, THEN, THERE, wherein Them are the suffering people of this powerful nation, Then is the next 50 years and There is our devastated environment.

The powerful lobbies have taken over our federal government; we have, in effect, ceded the control of all branches to large corporations. Even the Supreme Court is not immune to private interests. Some of its august members dine and play golf as guests of honor of wealthy executives, which makes it difficult if not impossible to remain unbiased when called upon to act on appeals involving large conglomerates.

The President offered during his campaign to eliminate the influence of lobbies and to veto any bill that had special interests attached to it. Alas, he was caught in the web just like any newly minted Congressman. "Do what I say, but not what I do" seems to be the motto on the Hill. Legislators make fiery speeches against legalized corruption, i.e. lobbying all the while opening their coffers to anxious donors.

Their weapons now are BlackBerries and cell phones. But connections, savvy, and fundraising clout are still the keys to the influence wielded by the city’s 50 top lobbyists. (Washingtonian, Kim Eisler, June 1, 2007)

Does the name Abramoff ring a bell?  "We need to entirely eliminate any contribution by those lobbying the government, participating in a federal contract, or otherwise financially benefiting from public funds" says the disgraced lobbyist. He should know a thing or two about how the system works. But unfortunately, Congress is the only organism allowed to make laws and it will never agree to pass anything that hurts its individual pockets. Ideally we should have an outside agency, a sort of ethical watchdog, that forces changes upon the legislative branch, but, again, such agency would have to be set up by the very people it would supervise. No Way, no How!

 We? The People?? Or They, The Special Interests? The Founding Fathers would be aghast at the business-like atmosphere in Congress which apparently has become a branch office of Wall Street. The venerated television program 60 minutes devoted a segment to insider trading by some Congressmen, asking pungent questions to embarrassed legislators who vehemently denied any personal involvement. Or course, they have experts doing the financial work for them and the report from CBS implied that they have advanced knowledge of bills that may impact the value of some companies or portions of real estate. It would be quite revealing to ask Congressmen to publicly declare their fortune at the beginning of their hallowed representation and at five year intervals thereafter. "How did they become rich?" is the burning question in every middle-class member's mind.

"We have the government we deserve", said a wise philosopher and the solution to the present problem is to get rid of every incumbent next November and elect fresh faces who may or may not give us, the people, some hope that Washington will regain the confidence that has been lost. Recent polls indicate a new and shameful low for Congress: 9% of the respondents said that they trusted that federal organism. Wow! Is that a message that will be heard next year or will most of us stay home and then complain that government doesn't work? If you don't vote, you deserve the government that is in place. So stop whining and prepare to act!

1 comment:

Elena said...

AMEN! Bravo, bravo and a hundred more bravos! Thank you once again for writing in reference to corrupt D.C. Obama promised change and has been blackballed every step of the way, I certainly agree with the author about voting out all the thieving, selfserving politicians whose time HAS run out. "WE" can guarantee it happening in 2012. Tick tock