Thursday, October 25, 2012


I didn't say I hated politicians. After all, one should not hate anyone one does not know, and the few I do know seem to be nice people. One congressman from Illinois I have known since he was a wee tot, and he is a terrific person. But I am sick to death of them as a general rule, and some of the reasons I am is not because of them, but because of the way the system is set up. In light of the upcoming election, the "most important one we have ever faced" (according to some, but then they say that pretty much every 4 years), this opportunity presents itself to make my position perfectly clear.

As mud.

ONE:  According to Merriam Webster, one definition of "tribalism" is the exaltation of the tribe above other groups. This is a simple and pointed description of party politics. Tribalism in a nice suit. If you are a loyal member of Party X, then anything anyone from Party Y says is bullshit. You couldn't possibly concede that they have any brains in their heads much less support any of their positions, even if they are perfectly sensible and fair.

I see this from both Democrats and Republicans (alpha order). How often do your hear one of them agreeing with someone from the other party? Sure, it happens, but not often enough. People in your own party are, by default, intelligent and rational, whereas anyone from the other party must be narrow, irrational, and slightly stupid. Oh, and let's not forget unAmerican.

How many in the House and Senate have that lovely "I" after their name? Not many, because we live in a 2-party system. If you aren't one or the other, you have about as much chance of getting elected as the cast of Jersey Shore. Where are all our open-minded, bipartisan elected officials? Oh, that's right. They can only be open-minded with people who agree with them.

I like Facebook. After all, it brought me together with the man I love to bits. But as I scroll through the news feed on Facebook, I see this play out in the highly partisan, inaccurate, and misleading posts people put up there. Elections can bring out the worst in people, especially when there are sides to be taken. Someone, who at any other time is perfectly sane and sensible, will happily buy into whatever their "leaders" tell them to think.

I tried to find a picture to illustrate this concept of tribalism in politics, but they all would have had me appear to be incredibly racist.

TWO:  Candidate A voted to take away Grandma's pension. Candidate B voted to eliminate school lunches for hungry kiddies. Really? Do you really think these candidates wake up each morning and wonder how they can screw over the people today? Here's the problem. No one's voting record can be trusted. Why? Because the things that they vote on have so many completely unrelated items tacked on to them, you can never tell which of the dozens of issues their vote is targeting. Candidate Z has voted "yes" on a bill that provides funding for something like finding homes for orphans on page 73, but somewhere else in that bill, buried in hundreds of pages that no one reads on page 419, is wording that grants the CEOs of large corporations immunity from prosecution. Suddenly, his opposition screams that Candidate Z is pro big business and pro CEO protections when all he was thinking about were the poor little orphans. But bills today ARE that large, and they ARE that complicated, and they DO contain things that the sponsors would be ashamed to bring forward in the full light of day on their own. So huge and complicated are most bills now that most legislators don't read the whole thing and have no idea what's in it. They only know the small piece that pertains to their vote.

Remember how pork projects get pushed through - buried inside the reams of pages for something else sure to get a lot of votes but that has NOTHING to do with piggy's funding? If we had single-item bills, and each issue or request for funding was forced to stand on its own merit, there would be a lot less legislation trying to get passed, because the sponsors would think twice before trying to get millions for a bridge to nowhere to appease their constituents so they can get re-elected. End result? Maybe a lot less government and a lot less wasteful spending.

THREE:  Campaign finances. Face it. Remember what you were told in school as a child? That America is the land of opportunity where anyone can be anything they want to be? Balderdash! Only a rich person can become the President. Do we really listen (and let it sink in) when it is reported how much the candidates are spending on their campaigns? The MILLIONS that get spent mean only two things:
  • The candidate has to be rich.
  • The candidate has raised MILLIONS by making promises to rich contributors. If elected, s/he will spend much of their term catering to the whims of their money sources so the funding will be there for the next election.
Sigh, I hate to sound so disillusioned. Like when my sisters ganged up on me and told me that, not only was there no Santa Claus, but the Easter Bunny was bogus too. I was 6. And I still remember.  

FOUR:  Politicians always tell you what they will do once elected. Remember though, the President has little regulatory power on his own. He can introduce a bill, veto a bill, serve as Commander in Chief (whatever that means), name his own cabinet, make his wishes known, make suggestions, strongly urge, make sweeping pronouncements, and curry favor, but he cannot create jobs, declare war, or reduce taxes. He pretty much has very limited power to do much of anything without the approval of The House or Senate or both. In fact, most of what politicians claim they will do or what they claim they have done will be or was accomplished by Congress. So, all those grandiose campaign promises are a lot of smelly wind.

FIVE: We hire them to do a job, but all too often, instead of doing what is in the best interest of, oh say, their constituents, it seems they are focused more on doing whatever they need to do to get reelected.

Having said all this, I will refrain from hitting the "Like" or "Comment" button for any political posts on Facebook until the election is over and we have a president (old or new) who still doesn't have as much power as people seem to think. On second thought, maybe I will refrain forever.

1 comment:

Jim Brobst said...

You go, girl!