After bearing witness to the endless charade in Washington these last few weeks, I do not hold out much hope that the situation is going to get any better. I look at the incestuous relationship between the various branches of government, compounded by a distinction of the political parties in name only, and the endless fawning of the main stream news media over those who don’t serve, but wield power. It reminds me of a small town social where everyone is trying their damndest to be on their best behavior and follow all of the accepted social norms of the occasion. I ask myself, “What did the Founding Fathers create for us what with all of the phony traditions and protocol the political whores go through in trying to convince us that those institutions in which they serve (or plunder) are somehow so hallowed that one dare not simply be “real.”
I don’t know about you, but all of this “my good friend,” “my esteemed colleague,” “the honorable,” etc., makes me want to flee to the nearest rest room and purge myself of all the sickening malarkey fed to us by what passes for civility and demeanor prescribed by centuries of “tradition,” whatever that is supposed to mean. Does anyone actually believe these parasites on the backside of the national character really give one hoot in hell about each other? Do they have one scintilla of real respect for one another? I rather doubt it. Probably the only constraining force among them is the ever-present fear that if they started spilling the beans about each others “compromises” and the cash tendered by those who have benefitted from them would create a scandal that would rock the entire continent.
But, in the final analysis I believe it does serve one very useful purpose for the benefit of those who elected them to office and now suffer, and at their total lack of regard for those who put them in the “Marble City on the Potomac.” We have become lulled into a false sense of believing that they really are ladies and gentlemen who give a damn about those they are sworn to serve.
All one has to do is scratch the surface of this ceremonial theater before we are overcome with the noxious fumes of what really lies behind it all. It is a total fraud put on as a ploy to convince us that we really did exercise good judgment by putting them in the seat of power to represent us and act with our best interests at heart. Give me a break!
As much reverence as we show for it all in the name of our “heritage,” I find the parliamentary system of government to be much more transparent and far more authentic than what we see in Washington. Have you noticed how they stand up across the aisle from each other and really duke it out? Have you noticed how they manifest real anger and disdain for their adversaries? Have you noticed how they get red in the face and show their contempt for what they perceive to be an affront or a disingenuous act? Now, that is what I call real political theater and something that gets my attention. I have a healthy respect for those moments. None of this, “my good friend” crap. At the end of the day it really is a superior system.
Despite what appears to be an ingrained need among us to revere all that the Founding Fathers put together as a blue print for governing this nation, I don’t think they did a very good job. Just look at the history of the Senate, the Congress, the Presidency, the Supreme Court and the cadre of those comprising the massive bureaucracy that serve their ambitions and, we are led to believe, are there to serve the people of the United States of America. There isn’t one of those institutions that have not been compromised by their greasy palms and blind ambition. And, as much respect as I have for real, authentic journalists and an independent news media, one cannot overlook how corporate news aids and abets all they bring down our on our heads as they seek to “govern,” however one cares to define that term. If it isn’t a very unhealthy symbiotic relationship, I will put in with you.
Are we really better off with politics rather than statesmanship? Are we really better off with hoards of “lobbyists” that somehow resemble cockroaches scurrying about in the shadows and into the cracks as they ply their evil agendas at the expense of those who put their benefactors into office, and who pay the monumental bills that keeps the whole thing afloat. Are we really better off when those who are supposed to be regulated by those who are elected to serve when, at the end of the day, they write the very regulations that are supposed to keep them honest? Are we better off, as a people, when those very same interests reduce this nation of good and decent people to the subsistence level while they feed off the very flesh of those who only want an honest shake and their rightful share of the American Dream? Are we really better off as we continue our obsolete and over-bloated sense of empire, committing those who can’t find a decent job at home to the perils of life in a war zone?
Just step back for a moment and contemplate the political and social rubble that has become the landscape of America. We have a resident in the White House who has only one redeeming talent. He consistently goes out, gives a mesmerizing speech, goes back to Washington and sequesters himself behind closed doors with the very ones he has been railing against on the stump. That has been his modus operandi from the day he took the Oath of Office. Let us not lose sight of the fact that he is the product of one of the oldest and most corrupt political machines in our history. Chicago politics are not for the faint of heart or the soul of decency.
We don’t have two distinct political parties. Instead we have a collection of rather sullied characters all feeding from the same troughs of corruption and scratching the backs of all those to whom they have given their allegiance. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to see that big money, big business and powerful vested interests dictate and control out destiny. As an added measure of assurance, the Supreme Court is there to make sure their interests, not ours, are served by what we euphemistically refer to as “government.”
The loudest and most consistent mantra of the day is “where are the jobs?” Well, we certainly can’t credit the Republicans for doing much about that, can we? Yet, neither can we trust those Democrats, going back to the Clinton Administration, with doing much to support and encourage a healthy Middle Class. After all, they are the very ones, who have championed, and still champion, the whole notion of “free trade agreements,” which translates into the systemic bleeding of those comprising the very backbone of this country. They are the ones who sit on their hands and do absolutely nothing to draw a line in the sand and call out China for the gross disparity in the terms of trade between our two countries.
It is Bill Clinton who set the stage for the complete deregulation of the financial institutions that have brought this country to its knees. If that were not enough, we have had the comfort of sitting on the sidelines as Barack Obama has imported all of his key Cabinet positions and White House Staff from the former Clinton Administration. You don’t have to be very astute to see how this country and its citizens have benefitted from that exercise in “continuity.” Ask Elizabeth Warren.
Folks, we are in deep doo-doo. No amount of attempts to assuage the reality of our situation will change things for the better. The states are crumbling under the burden of debt they carry and their inability to garner enough resources in order to provide basic public services necessary for a civilized society. It is time we stopped deluding ourselves into believing that all those tantalizing and titillating hedonistic and materialistic pleasures are really there for us to savor. It is an illusion that seduces us into believing that, if we will just be patient, Nirvana awaits.
For all the pleasures held out to us, there is nothing that makes a person feel better than having done something kind for one of his fellow human beings. That is the higher calling we must shift our focus on. It will make us a better people and a better nation.
At the head of every human endeavor that changes history for the better is real leadership. We haven’t seen that in so long it is hard to conceptualize what it really means. Politics, as it is practiced today is the antithesis of any sense of a noble human endeavor. Statesmanship and leadership creates and nourishes hope and the promise of a better future. We need someone who has those qualities to step out of the shadows and commit to restoring this country to what it once was and can surely be again. Those lost virtues of honesty and integrity that have served as the foundation of a government we can truly believe in are not lost, only forgotten.
The motley collections of individuals who have come to Washington and now hold this nation hostage are pathetic in their ignorance and ominous in their zealousness. They, and those who follow them, are incapable of original thought. They are believers without knowing what and why they believe. They are pathetic, but dangerous. They seek a quick fix and simple solutions to every dilemma we face. They are the followers of the Koch Brothers and those of the same ilk whose greed will see them to the end of the only life they will ever know and their wanton destruction of everything in their path, including this country. Those who march with them are reminiscent of those who keep feeding the alligators hoping they will eat them last. Meanwhile decent people suffer.
Real leadership and a calling to a higher purpose are gifts for which there is no price. They are rewards in and of themselves. But Bernie Sanders, and the valiant and dedicated few like him, can’t do it all. I sincerely hope there is an inspired leader in the making who will hear the clarion call and say, ‘Now is the time; and I am ready.”
The Sagebrush Philosopher
August 7, 2011