Monday, October 17, 2005
"those who are too smart to engage in politics are punished by being governed by those who are dumber."--Plato
Everybody seems to be so worried about who's running for President next term. News organizations are sounding like gossip columns more and more as they report every little off-handed, accidental remark by every off-handed, accidental politician who implies a run for office. Of course most people are anticipating Hillary in '08. John McCain and Gov. Romney have all but cranked up the campaign bus, and Giuliani is toying with the idea.Truth is, I kinda get the feeling there will be a myriad of phonies lining up to be the next puppet for Congress to put their hand into. Yup. I said it. Our President (the office of, that is) has become a puppet of congress.
These guys and gals in the House and Senate have a sweet gig. All they do is congratulate each other and plan vacations all day squeezing in a little time for making laws. They make proposals that benefit them financially and politically then send them to the President to sign accompanied by some advice: "If you don't sign ours, we won't support yours."
Oh yes. Congress typically gets their way and we as a people just don't seem to care. We are all too busy blaming the President for our woes from gas prices to an unsightly mole. Yet the President doesn't control as much as we think he does. Certainly he has some power, but only what Congress gives him. Yeah, I know. He tells us in the state of the union about all this legislation he'll put forward and the changes he'll make, but those are things Congress has to approve.Essentially, they decide what gets enacted and what doesn't. This legislature in turn causes the things we blame the President for. You see what I mean? Congress has it good. The President takes all the blame. Then if people dislike what is passed and begin to lambast the President, the same Congressmen who helped cause the problem blame him as well. Of course, if everyone praises the legislation, Senator Boxer and Senator Kennedy take credit.
I think it's high-time that we as a nation pay as much attention to which Senators and Representatives we send to D.C. as we do to the Presidential race. In reality, we pay an excessive amount of attention to the "Big" race and barely enough to stay awake for the Congressional elections. Most people just vote their party then get back to work. If we had President Bush's and Senator Kerry's 3rd grade report cards, we would have them analyzed by 100 experts for signs of leadership. Yet Ted Kennedy (Hi Ted! I know you're a shelfer.) can get drunk and drive off a bridge leaving a woman to drown instead of helping her to the surface and he'll be a shoo-in for the Senate 'til he dies (or until he finally gets so drunk, he forgets to run).
Think about it: At best, a President has 8 years to screw up the country. Senators and Representatives have no term limits. Theoretically, if they drink the same flavor milkshake Strom Thurmond was sippin' on, they could screw us up for 100 years.
People seem to be more likely to vote for the incumbent than for a newcomer. Now if the incumbent is doing a fine job then, by all means, vote for him. What I can't understand is when voters continuously put someone in office who is either dead weight or just a walking controversy. Just because a candidate isn't well known or didn't raise much campaign money doesn't mean he is ineffective. People tend to go with who " looks official" or who has a more familiar name. Essentially, it has become a popularity contest. Our legislature has become much like 'Beverly Hills:90210" except it's in D.C., most are over 40, and no-one has Jason Priestly's hair. Is that what we really want running our country? Besides, our Congress does not represent us, their constituents. They represent themselves and special interest groups. That's not the way it should be. They don't answer to the people anymore. That's because we don't hold them accountable by voting for someone else when they fail us.
My old buddy T.J. (that's Thomas Jefferson to you) used to say," When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty. " We need to make our government fear us. The most effective way to do that is by being responsible at the voting booth. It's not as easy as it sounds, though. You can't just show up and "tow the party line". You must research the issues and candidates, voting for what you think is best. Too many people are afraid to vote outside of their party. There's nothing wrong with being a part of a political affiliation. The problem is when people allow their political affiliation to control how they vote. You can still be a good Democrat and vote for a Republican. You can still be a good Republican and vote for a Democrat.
Are we too simple minded as a country to simply vote for the best candidate? Sadly enough, I think so. I mean, there are lights of hope among voters in every state, but they get covered up by a big blanket of dummies. Keep in mind that this blanket has both elephants and donkeys embroidered all over it. I hate to sound so negative, but I call it like I see it. This being the case, I'm not as worried about who's running for President as I am about those going to vote for them. We must reform ourselves as a nation of voters, then reform our legislature by holding them accountable. If we can ever accomplish that, I think our Presidential woes will be over.
Feel free to comment and discuss if the need strikes you.
"Boy, I think you've got something there.......I'll wait outside while you clean it up."