We Require Better than we are getting
Solutions that work
As you watch some of the confounding gamesmanship that passes for leadership both in state and national legislatures, you may find yourself feeling a sense of De Jovu and with good reason, you’ve lived through this before, during the woods wars of the 80s and 90s, where the battle lines changed from that of public policy and compromise to imagery and “no compromise in the defense of mother earth.”
While the 70s version of “no compromise” made for good headlines, passionate television, and great drama, it’s yields demonstrably poor public policy, a very myopic point of view and does little to truly resolve an issue. Much of the legislative traffic jam we’ve seen come to pass in recent decades were spawned from this era of no compromise, and particularly as it pertains to our federal forest’s health: it’s been a disaster for communities and the forest.
To make matters worse the resulting “no compromise” shift was not only about drafting laws that changed policies but expanded to punish your enemies, real or imagined through onerous fines and voluminous regulations. Thus lawmakers have dramatically changed their underlying principle of compromising to make things work “to our way or the highway” including punishment. Little wonder our system has problems making progress.
The result: we’re no longer seeking solutions but paying off constituencies, and punishing opponents, while kicking the can down the road. After three or four decades the emphasis has shifted dramatically from deliberations (seeking solutions) to the sort of legislation that gave us what’s referred to as “Obama care” rammed through with NO pretense of cooperation, behind closed doors, then rushed to a vote, giving a whole new meaning to “transparency.”
Not too surprisingly people were, and are, upset at the “Chicago-style” ramrodding, which is becoming common place. Two-thousand page documents are just the beginning, what comes next is even more pages or rules, regulations, and in the case of Obama care a HUGE new bureaucracy. That is progress?
While the media moans about partisan politics, they take no ownership of their accepted practice of spinning rather than reporting the news, self-censoring reporting that should be done, ignoring the naked lack of transparency, while subduing any hint of outrage at a process that dutifully casts a pall over any opposing point of view. This is the watchful eye of skepticism?
The politics of today was spawned from the imagery of the 60s and 70s used to conveniently bypass compromise and fact in favor of the warm and fuzzy image de jour. Thus the rise of political correctness, which promotes censorship in the name of enlightenment, eliminates debate, and stifles criticism and in so doing erodes the very foundation of our freedom... all under the umbrella of the “progressive” movement.
Too frequently what’s sold by the press as compromise reminds us of the concessions pushed during the timber wars: “What’s mine is mine, what’s yours is negotiable” also known as “let’s compromise and you’ll do it my way.”
For our country to prosper, all sides need to be held accountable to the same ethical standards, far beyond the swamp standards of Washington DC (or Chicago) but to the standards of main street business. The presses culpability in allowing the process to sink to this level while adoring one side and abhorring the other does not promote either fair play or accountable solutions.
As to the November election for president, we need to consider competency, over imagery, and accountability over delivery. Our issues as a country deserve more than a politically correct glossy cover.
For a country that espouses religious freedom our beloved media (and other political entities) have done their utmost to bring one candidates religion to the forefront again and again. Regardless of his (or her) individual affiliations the president’s job first and foremost is to lead our nation, hopefully with some degree of faith and guided by a greater sense of right and wrong. Yet how often religion comes up again and again is little more than a culpable bigotry selectively tolerated by a media obsessed with their own importance beyond that of the country.
To bring this into perspective, in spite of the bigotry of the time, the American people in fact elected John F. Kennedy as our first Catholic president.
In fact during the 1960 presidential campaign Kennedy’s being a Catholic was cast as a major issue with the media fanning the flames that “the Vatican, the Pope would be calling the shots.” We survived the unfounded fears then, and in fact should we elected a Mormon to the office, we expect the significance will again only be of importance to the bigotry shown so nakedly in the media.
The elected “class”
The rhetoric during the election season has historically emphasized the candidate’s being “one of us” and “representing” the common good, which resonates with the original concept of our nation’s founding where members of the legislative body “serviced” the electorate temporarily and was not elected for life. Members had an occupation within the boundaries he or she represented prior to election and they would return to it following their term (or terms) in office.
Unfortunately reality, as demonstrated in real life, notes many if not most of the legislative leadership sets a tone in action that’s embraced and accepted by the majority of elected officials, which by example demonstrates the very attitude that erodes their “service to the country” to “servicing themselves first,” and has both created and continues to perpetuate the legislators as being an elite class above those they represent.
Thus when congress passes laws that affect business and industry (rather it be safety standards, hours of service, the rights of employees, to name a few) those laws frequently exempt Congress. How convenient. How contemptible.
The most recent and publicly galling example was Congress’ specifically exempting itself from the numerous provisions of what’s referred to as “Obama care” because the benefits of congressional health care (which they retain long after they leave office) far exceed those of the public they’re “serving.”
The message is unmistakable: while the rhetoric is about “equality” and “serving” at the end of the day the majority of legislators, both Democrat and Republican, demonstrate a clear contempt of those they were elected to serve grabbing perks and shelling out the scraps to their constituent base.
Is it any wonder that Congress conducts itself with such reckless abandon on unconstrained spending, and governmental growth when their own actions are not about “what you can do for your country” but demonstrably about “what your country can do for you.”
To cure the ills of our nation we must first look to the individual members of the Senate and the House demanding they must be subject to the same laws, rules and regulations they cheerfully dump on the rest of us, from incomes, perks, retirement, rules, regulations and health care.
The movement in government over the past 40 years demonstrates the very thing our nation was founded to prevent: a caste system of the ruling and a separate working class.
Instead we now have a President in particular who talks about an open and transparent administration, but whose actions are anything but. He talks about cooperation and compromise, yet in action it’s his way or no way.
And the media, rather than reporting what is actually going on, serves as a mouth organ for Washington DC and the ruling caste.
To clean up the current mess takes some courage and leadership from those of us who are actually out in the world beyond the swamps of Washington DC, where you must earn a living, make a profit, and beyond all other goals, encourages the legislators to find working solutions, not just fund one constituency over another.