Independence Day…WE THE PEOPLE ARE PISSED!

Declaration-1

We are not even to the “halfway point” of our epic “Rediscovering America” trip, and I have identified one common thread that ties almost everyone I talk to, as it pertains to their opinion of the Government…“It’s time for a change.” 

When you look at the opening lines of the document that we celebrate on July 4th, there is a sense that much of it could be written today, regarding the frustration we have with our current political state of affairs…

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Let’s get one thing straight…I am not an anarchist. But, I have certainly moved further and further away from the “organizations of politics” which would claim me as a member. The reason for this, is that over the past few decades, I have gone from “dipping my toe” in the waters of the political ocean, to full body immersion, to being swept out to sea, and finally reaching a point where I want to be safely on an island, watching the cacophony that is modern politics from a great distance.

Unfortunately, there is no such island, if I still want to be close to my family and home golf course.

So…again, I find myself working to unite those who find themselves of the same mind. And, I think that over a couple of key points…we can almost all agree.

Thomas J. could turn a phrase. He had some great minds around him…but, when it comes to stating the basis of an issue, Jefferson could lay it down.

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

Let’s cut to the chase here. I feel that we need a “separation” of such a magnitude, that with just two simple strokes of the pen (OK…two major amendments to the constitution), we could solve almost all of the political ills that we face today.

And we almost all agree that something needs to be done…

So…we almost totally agree on several things; Congress needs to be shaken up, the money is out of control in elections, and when it comes to electing a President in 2016, nobody is going to be happy.

If we are in a place that requires something drastic, say a New Declaration of Independence from the quagmire of inaction that we find ourselves swimming, what is the fastest, most logical course of action?

Just Two Things.

That’s right. Just two “minor changes” to the constitution would fix about 75% of the REAL problems we have as a nation.

Number One- Term Limits for Congress.
With almost no exception, there isn’t a single senator or congressperson who wouldn’t do a better job, if they were free from the perpetual re-election cycle. And, unfortunately, for a variety of reasons (mostly because they spend almost 3/4 of their time working to get re-elected) the chances of the incumbent winning every time, is almost tantamount to a lifetime appointment. They are mostly working to keep their jobs. Period.

How bad is it? Well, I think most of you would be shocked to know that BOTH parties (RNC/DNC) require congress members to “phone bank” for funding up to 30 hours per week. That is not a typo. Here are a couple of the sources for this…
CBS 60 minutesHuffington Post 

Is it any wonder that Congress is prone to taking big money from ANY source that offers it?

If you are spending up to 80% of your time trying to raise funds to get re-elected…you don’t have much time to actually govern. You won’t have time to read the bills that are being presented…or reform bills that stink…or actually take the time to get to know your fellow congress members so some sort of bipartisan action can be put into place when big problems come along.

I suggest Term limits of 8 years for both houses. If it’s good enough for the President, the “leader of the free world,” then it is sure as hell good enough for the people who make the President’s life miserable.

That last line comes directly from my experience working on Obama’s 2008 campaign…and watching congress (mostly his OWN party) dismantle the meat of his agenda, because they had to kowtow to special interest donors in their home districts.

The other reason that we need term limits, is to attract that kind of great minds who could actually bring about solutions, ideas and changes when we need them. Right now, the best minds are in business and education. But, almost nobody wants to sacrifice a huge portion of their lives to public service, especially of they are going to be turned into “professional phone solicitors.”

There are reams of other reasons that term limits make sense. But, one of the best is that it will soften the partisan rhetoric on the Hill, because members of Congress won’t be as prone to showboating on issues, simply to find favor with extremist voting blocks.

Number Two- The Elimination of Lobbying and Special Interest PACs
I know that this one has “common sense” written all over it, but most American Citizens don’t have a clue just how bad the problem with “big money in politics” really is…or why it is so destructive.

I admit to “feeling the Bern” in the Primaries. I “felt the Bern” because I was already burned up over the current state of the election process, and the fundamental points of Sander’s campaign resonated with me. I am not a socialist. Far from it. But, I do strongly agree that special interest money (read that CORPORATE DONORS) have hijacked the political system to such a degree, that we no longer have a real voice in the process.

This has been debated in some terms by the Supreme Court, who continue to say that in some crack-brained way, donating to Political Action Committees and Special Interest Lobbying groups is a form of “Free Speech” protected by our First Amendment.

This gets REALLY convoluted very quickly… but you can find the chart for “Campaign Donation Limits” HERE. 

The key paragraph there is, “Following the Supreme Court’s 2014 decision in McCutcheon v. FEC, there is no longer an aggregate limit on how much an individual can give in total to all candidates, PACs and party committees combined.”

And the keywords there are, “an individual” and PAC. Because the “individuals” often hide behind PACs, and fleeting political organizations with silly names that rile up the most extreme patrons on both sides of the spectrum.

But the REAL “individuals” who can shape the future of an election, and have hands in shaping policy, destroying progress, and limiting the actual voting power of the general public, is a relatively short list…which you can find HERE…along with the very public, not-even-trying-to-hide, Koch brothers, who are spending an estimated $1 Billion this election cycle alone. But remember…the “Koch Brothers” aren’t actually just donating their own money. They are creating PACs with which they can also hide the corporate donations of loads of their cronies.

So…yes, it is an amazing thing when Sanders raises  $222 Million from grassroots “normal people” contributors, in average donations of $27. But, it also raises the key questions about the special interests, Wall Street and Investment Banking money that lines the deep coffers of Hillary’s campaign and now Trump’s campaign.

But, this is not a partisan debate.  This is a rampant BI-PARTISAN problem.

Case in point. Obama is elected on “Hope and Change” with a wide range of programs ready to enact that would offer huge changes in health care, college funding, national employment programs, and yes…campaign reforms, and he has a Super Majority in Congress for the first half of his first year. But, almost every one of his plans are GUTTED…by his OWN PARTY…by special interests, and those who want the “status-quo” to remain. Look it up.  It is insane.  Even “Obama-Care” is a shell of the original proposed bill, because the huge Big-Pharm and Insurance lobbyists who own Congress, made sure that real reform couldn’t take place.

The problem isn’t with the Presidents we elect…it is HOW they are elected…and who influences the lawmakers that can make the President’s lives miserable.

There are checks and balances in this system. But, every single part of the process is bought and paid for by special interests and huge corporate/investment banking interests.

How much is spent in “regular lobbying” in a year in Washington? I don’t think anyone would be surprised to know that the number has TRIPLED since 1998 when the campaign finance laws were gutted (along with regulations on Banking Investment and PAC formations) from $1.45 Billion….to $3.22 Billion in 2015.  That is a HUGE increase…and makes the calls that congresspeople need to do during phone-banking a lot easier!

That’s right. Look at the date. Clinton signed these bills into legislation…and they were written by the Gingrich-lead Congress. Everyone was in on the fix.

Of course…many lobbyists are former members of congress or staffers. So they probably all have one another on “speed dial.”

THIS ISN’T THAT HARD FOLKS… BUT HERE’S THE REAL PROBLEM…

We forgot this part of the Declaration of Independence…

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,

WE secure the rights by our own consent. WE are the people…who allow others to tell us how to think, or even worse, have STOPPED thinking at all, because it all seems too late.

It is not too late.

We need to stop letting them DISTRACT us from the real issues, with all of the silly fractionalization that happens when we let the talking heads set the agenda with “hot button topics” that keep our collective eyes off of the real problems.

I have been around politics long enough to know…that the real political operatives can divide a room quickly with just three issues… 1. Abortion 2. Gun Rights 3. Gay Marriage and a host of sideline “FEARMONGERING” over Terrorism/Immigration which are convenient “enemies” with no real faces.

They do this every election cycle, because they know we will separate ourselves into these ridiculous camps of “Liberal” and “Conservative” and won’t concentrate on the ONE THING THAT UNITES US. We Want Government To Change (see the above states on 80% Dissatisfaction with Government).

It’s time for two changes…and then watch the rest of the tumblers fall into place.

WE THE PEOPLE need to take back the power.

WE THE PEOPLE need to stop allowing the 1/2 of 1% who don’t give a rat’s ass about anyone but themselves to determine our futures.

WE THE PEOPLE need to stop being so damn lazy, complacent and apathetic…and work for something that will actually alter the REST of the future of our country.

We don’t need to “throw the bums out,” we just need to level the playing field and let the assclowns in congress find out what it feels like to work for a living.

WE THE PEOPLE are MAD AS HELL…and WE AREN’T GOING TO TAKE IT ANYMORE!!

OK… Rant complete.

Have a wonderful 4th of July. Be safe. Be happy. Then let’s get back to work!!

Declaration-2

 

Advertisements

About crankyoldguy067

I'm a very complex person...no...really I am. It may seem like I only golf, watch TV, and listen to Randy Newman, Tom Waits and Little Feat...but I am a deep, deep thinker...so deep that at times I just have to lay down. I love my family. I love my wife for putting up with me. I have held more jobs than a Pakastani immigrant...and have had three complete career cycles. 1. In my first life (rymes with first wife) I did almost every blue-collar job you can imagine...all with alarming ineptetude. 2. In my second cycle, I owned an ad agency, was an award winning music producer, and recording artist. And now, since the advent of the Internet... 3.I have been pretty much locked into providing services and marketing support to radio stations across 160 markets...while dablling with writing...continuing to write music...managing several blog sites, the country club web site, and being a grandpa...while working to pay for the weddings of my last three daughters. I will be working until I am 70...or 75...or 80. My advice to anyone who wants to emulate my life... DON"T!!!!! Stay in college. Have a good, long career in something with a decent retirement program and good benefits. You can't pay for your gallbladder operation with an Emmy Award. Really. I've asked.
This entry was posted in Rants, Rediscovering America and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s