Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Day 19 - What do you think of religion? Or what do you think of politics?

From Thirty Days of Truth

I'd like to say that it's not my fault that there has been a day or so between each post for the last few questions. I'd like to say that, but it wouldn't be true. It's my fault that I have totally procrastinated and haven't been painting the house like I should have been.

My sister, Karen, is moving back in with us and we are moving her in over this coming weekend, so I'm trying to get her room ready.

When she moved out almost two years ago, I gutted her room and painted the walls and the cement floor. Tom installed new baseboard and door and window casing, but I never got around to priming and painting it. Now I am forced to do it so her room is move-in ready. Arrrrgggghhhh!! I hate that I waited so long to do it!!

Enough of the excuses.

I don't think I will get into the question about religion. I have very, very mixed feelings about organized religion that are far too complicated for me to articulate in one blog.

But politics? What used to be a calling to serve our country and it's people has become a vehicle to merely achieve power and en mass personal and party wealth. And I don't say that of just the Republicans. There is enough dishonesty, greed and corruption to go around.

Perhaps, I'm just too cynical, but it seems to me that maintaining record levels of billions of dollars in the myriad of campaign coffers is the top priority. And these massive campaign contributions do not come from you and me. I've read many accounts that estimate that any given member of Congress spends 25% to 30% of their time every single day fund-raising. These members receive substantial donations from special interests and I'm not so naive to believe that our legislators don't feel feel compelled to support their biggest donors’ interests over that of my own. The implication of these massive donations is clear: potential legislative decisions are exchanged for campaign funds. A larger problem exists when Congressional members who have received huge campaign donations from the very same special interests they are responsible for regulating.

It's not just money that's the problem. It's also the mindset. I can't remember where I heard this, but, paraphrasing, 'If the other side wins one point, we lose,' meaning basically that if a bill is proposed and it doesn't pass in its entirety without any changes, the side that proposed the bill considers it a total loss and they will do anything to avoid that, including doing nothing or blocking everything, as we have seen for the last two years. Inject into that scenario that there's no longer any give and take or real negotiation. It has become "what's my vote worth to you." Legislators no longer negotiate the details of a bill. They negotiate their vote, holding out for special privileges or exceptions for their states or exemptions for special interest donors.

Then, of course, there is the rhetoric. The inflammatory, demonizing, sometimes violent rhetoric.

Public office was never meant to be a lifetime career or to be thought of as job security. Too many of those old white guys have been in office way too long: 15, 20, 30 years! They have acquired too much power and are far too comfortable. I'm all for cleaning house and getting rid of all of them because as long as the 'old timers' remain in office to show the 'new timers' how it's done, the system will never change and will be passed on to future leaders. But that would require that we all vote the same way at the same time and that's not going to happen.

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