Anyone sick of the political ads yet? Even though I love politics and love this season, this particular election has been especially irritating. There's absolutely no reason that President Obama should be remotely close to winning this election. His record is one of destroying jobs, not creating them. Putting our military in harm's way, not bringing them home. Weakening our presence overseas, not strengthening. Caving to international trade pressure, not strengthening markets for American products.
Yet, the pablum candidate on the other side, Mitt Romney, can't seem to get any traction. His middle of the road, moderate campaign doesn't seem to excite anyone, nor does he offer much in the way of alternatives to the current administration. Yes, I get it, that some things will change, but will they really be things that matter? Will Mitt REALLY stand up to the Chinese in regards to their tariffs on our goods exported to them (yes, we do actually export things to them) or will he continue the tradition that President Obama started by bowing and allowing them to do what they want? Will special interests still run the presidency, just different special interests? Instead of unions running the show, will it be investment bankers, the chamber of commerce, or some other master? Welcome the new boss, same as the old boss.
We need fundamental change, but change is hard. Change is uncomfortable and painful. No one can run on a national platform of "We're going to change, and it'll be painful, but in the long run it'll be better". Long view doesn't exist in America where 30 second soundbites lose the attention of the people halfway through. No one can say "We're going to cut the waste out of government and here is EXACTLY how we'll do it" and present a specific plan, because those who will be affected by the cuts will scream bloody murder. That's why Romney hasn't been that specific in his plans. You can't blame him. If he is to defeat the Chicago Machine that is in the White House now, he'll need every single vote he can garner, and giving people specifics as to how his presidency will cut money from their pet projects will not help him get those votes. Additionally, in this hyper-partisan environment, anything that the other side can do to gain an advantage, they are definitely going to take advantage. If that ends up hurting the country in the long term, so be it.
The system is broken and no one in power will fix it because it isn't to their advantage to do so. If we fix this broken system, people like Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Mitch McConnell, Barack Obama, and the rest, no longer have power. Power is like a drug, you'll do anything to keep it, including subvert the stability of the government. These people have been doing that for years, under our noses. But, let's face it, it's not their fault. We have given them the power to do this. The American people have allowed these power-grabbing assbags to put themselves into a position to gain advantage through any method necessary. And have we stepped up to stop them? Ever? Perhaps the Tea Party movement is one where you can say that the people rose up and said 'enough', but that was quickly demonized by those in power, and the American people bought into the media/power structure's labeling of the Tea Party as 'racist', 'sexist', 'radical', etc. Really? Radical? Is it radical to want our government to stop spending more than they bring in? Is it radical to want the government to stick to their fundamental responsibilities and nothing more? Is it radical to want the people to have the power again, and not some faceless bureacrat who can't be fired no matter how incompetent? I don't think so, nor does the average American when asked. However, because the Tea Party threatened the existing power structure, suddenly it was 'radical'. Then co-opted by the Republican party, which could have been advantageous to the party, but instead they relegated them to the back of the proverbial bus. The Ron Paul movement could have revolutionized the Republican party, but instead of co-opting their ideas and bringing it into the mainstream of the party, they relegated them to the back of the bus as well. If the Republicans lose this election, they'll only have themselves to blame for the idiotic handling of these two extremely involved, and motivated groups.
It's time for a revolution. Not a shooting one, because that would only result in the slaughter of innocents, given that the government has exponentially more firepower than those of us who would stand up to them. But a thought revolution. One where people think for themselves and are more interested in voting for President than for the American Idol winner. And this is essentially an easy revolution to have. All we have to do is to get our neighbors to pay attention. I don't mean just in October/November of an election year, but all the time. Don't ignore politics outside of the election cycle. Call your senator/congressman/president when you think they're being an idiot. Or call them when you think they're doing a good job. But make sure they know that you're watching. And that your neighbors are watching. And your neighbors' neighbors. And their neighbors. We need to hold them accountable for what they're doing and stop suckling at the government teat ourselves. Stop complaining when someone says "Hey, we need to cut out this pet project" even if it brings tax dollars to your city/state/county/whatever. And give the politicians hell when they try to waste our tax dollars on such idiocy. Maybe if we do this, we'd see a return to fiscal sanity as well as a government where it's ok to give details about plans without having to worry about offending a special interest group because we're going to cut out research on the mating habits of the Southeast Asian Speckled Butterfly.
And maybe monkeys will fly out of my butt.
The reason I'm writing is not just to let you know I appreciate your blog, but to expand upon it. I would love to see our system change; I just fear that we'll have to lose our country and create a new one before that would happen. Could a strong leader invoke the changes necessary for our system to again function...so that we elect politicians based on their abilities for office, not their campaign skills? Possibly, though we would have to overcome the poverty mentality that so many of our voters have.
My understaning is that one's economic situation dictates how one makes choices. Sure--people may be wired to be more likely to think in the long term versus for immediate gratification, and one can be taught to think in an economically-responsible manner, but my understanding is that when thrust into poverty, we tend to revert to a certain thought pattern. That pattern is that the future is too overwhelming to consider, so the best thing to do is to take what one can get right now. This is why when a poor person is given money, it usually gets blown right away. Why save, when one could save every penny and still not be able to make a significant difference for one's future? Why not enjoy the money while it's there, and worry about tomorrow tomorrow? If I vote for this person, I'll get ______; even though this is not a wise idea, I want what I want and I'll vote for _________. Too many people seem to think like that, and, just like dogs performing for a treat, will do anything to get a perceived perk.
I also think our perception of being poor and what one is entitled to are horribly distorted. I think these distortions cause more people to adopt the poverty mentality I outlined above than would without those expectations. Rather than learning to be content, grateful and wise, we're creating a nation of self-pitying, chronically-unhappy grabbers.
A true, national security emergency might cause us to change. The real crisis and resulting shortages might cause many people to change their thought patterns. Our president and governors might use emergency powers to force our population to take the social "medicine" of changes necessary to make our country function in a sustainable manner according to the principles with which it was founded. I fear, though, that it would be very tempting for a politician to resist using the crisis for his- or her- own personal benefit.
So...for what it's worth, a few more thoughts about the complexity behind the path our country seems to be following.
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