When I sat down and began to prepare this commentary, I had just finished viewing the Sunday Morning major newscasts, such as CBS Sunday Morning, Face the Nation, and Meet the Press. The usual talking heads from Washington were spinning their party’s official line, and not one of them answered the question directed to them. Some days I believe nothing ever changes, and you and I are seeing our secure future slip away from us on almost an hourly basis.
After browsing my ever slimmer local Sunday newspaper I just sat in my lazy-boy contemplating recent developments, and I have come to the conclusion that there are very few people in our Congress that are like us, the common people. First, in order to get elected one must have a great source of major amounts of money. Once the campaign begins the candidate must start making compromises of his/her integrity in order to receive the necessary campaign contributions. Once elected to office the official is required to follow the party line that is established by long entrenched political elders. These party leaders are so conflicted, and obligated to special interests that their logic and oath to the people is significantly impaired.
In order to stay in Washington as an elected official he or she must immediately begin to play the game with lobbyists, and special interests to fill up the campaign coffers for the next campaign. The cycle continues year after year, and it isn’t often that the elected official ever loses office unless he/she really screws up. As history has proven even the worst possible actions do not necessarily mean the end to one’s political career.
Most concerning to me is the fact that there are few, if any, individuals serving our interests in Congress that is not extremely wealthy. If they did not have much money when they got elected they soon are flushed with a big bank account. Don’t you wonder how that happens?
Back in July an old friend from Idaho sent me an email that was widely distributed, which outlined the fact that numerous members of Congress were accused of spousal abuse, had been arrested for fraud, wrote bad checks, had bankrupted at least two companies, done time for assault, had bad credit, were arrested for drug-related charges, were arrested for shoplifting, were defendants in lawsuits, and had been arrested for drunk driving recently.
Virtually all of the offenders are still serving in their positions, and only a couple of members were forced to resign when convicted, but they continue to collect a life-time pension.
Where are the House and Senate Ethics Committees when it comes to cleaning up the misbehavior? We have all recently seen example after example where a double standard was shown for many members, such as:
Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA)
Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY)
Rep. Duke Cunningham (R-CA)
Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA)
Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-CT)
Rep. William Jefferson (D-LA)
Sen. Larry Craig (R-ID)
Repeatedly members of “The Club” were permitted to get away totally unscathed, but you and I would have lost our jobs, and probably be in jail. The most grievous example was the conduct of now multi-millionaire ex-President William Jefferson Clinton, and he struts around the world today as if nothing ever happened.
Please tell me why our Congress is permitted to work only about three days per week, allowed to vote themselves pay raises, authorized to fly all over the world at government expense, and fly home most Thursdays when in session to their home districts at taxpayer’s expense so they can pass out Pork or raise more campaign funds. When you consider the number of recesses the Congress also takes annually, they actually work for you and me very few days per year. No one in this country has more perks, better health insurance, or a more lucrative retirement plan than our elected officials.
Where you and I came from we had to work five or six plus days per week to earn a two week vacation. We worked overtime when required, and came in on the weekends when necessary. Many Americans work sixty plus hours per week just to meet their work and financial obligations.
How can our Congressmen and Senators criticize any company for holding meetings in Las Vegas, when both the Republicans and Democrats held lavish gatherings this past January at expensive resorts on the east coast all at taxpayer expense? The bonus plans at AIG were wrong, but Congress and several Administrations are complicit.
Especially during these perilous economic times wouldn’t it be appropriate for Congress to stay in Washington working five or six days per week, and accomplish something significant, rather than all this political posturing. How about not flying home every weekend, and staying in Washington preparing to complete real objective goals on Monday morning. Executives from Ford, GM and Chrysler flying private jets did little to pollute the skies compared to what Congress does every weekend flying home or on junkets worldwide.
We are ruled by elitist multi-millionaires who do not have the foggiest idea what you and I must contend with everyday of our lives. I no longer believe they care, because they have got it made in the shade. We did it to ourselves, because we had it too good for far too long. We voted these unethical corrupt hypocrites into office, and our apathy permits them to remain in office.
CNN.com recently conducted an interesting poll which asked the question: “Do you think your representative would take a bribe?”
Yes, but the price is high 41% 20,194 votes
Yes, for free meals 41% 20,566 votes
No way 18% 9,030 votes
Total votes 49,790
Now that is not a scientific poll, but I find it to be very revealing of how the average citizen rates their representatives in Washington.
We the people of these United States can do something about it in less than two years. The average person and I believe that the majority of people living in America are average, better get off his/her behind. We must vote for individuals of real integrity and decency. Our political parties must do a better job of vetting their candidates, and I believe the situation is so dire that it is not beyond the possibility that a third party could come into viable existence.
Your Commander once thought term-limits were the answer, but I am no longer certain that is correct. People like Rep. Jeff Flake R-AZ are needed in Washington, because people of his character are what are necessary to lead us out of the current destructive path. We are approaching the later innings of this game, but it is not too late to salvage a victory, and return this great nation to its position of envy, glory, and prosperity.
Greed and complicity got us into this pickle, but if we select individuals with ideals much like our Founding Fathers we can, and will, move onto the correct compass heading. We desperately need guidance, so May God Bless America.