It’s hard to believe, but earlier in my lifetime the folks in Congress actually tried to govern. Really. As time has gone on, it stopped working. Compromise ceased to be. Over the past few decades, the power brokers have managed to cripple a critical piece of American government. I’m sad to see it happen.
I blame all the parties in Congress equally. The graft and influence peddling isn’t even hidden anymore. Lobbyist press releases are read verbatim (sometimes by more than one member) while being presented as from a representative or senator’s staff. The purpose of both houses of Congress is now solely dedicated to keeping the money flowing for re-election bids as well as other personal things. Republican, Democrat, Independent…it doesn’t matter anymore. Moral conviction has–with only accidental exceptions–left the building.
The ones I blame most of all are the voters. The idiot voters who keep electing based on slogans, smears, faith, party, or any other silly thing. That is stupid. And yes, I’m calling a lot of the electorate stupid. Why? Because they don’t understand what they are voting for. They think they do, but they don’t.
Whether voting for some GOP fear-monger or some Democratic political wuss, the result is the same: you vote without knowing what it is that you are voting for. You don’t care for debate, but you listen to shouting heads (which almost never is actually debate). You listen to people with a vested interest to tell you what American “means” without taking the time to learn for yourselves our country’s history to any degree deeper than an article in some tabloid rag.
It is rare that someone who I think most deserves to win a vote actually wins. At best, it’s the lesser of two evils. Sadly, for at least the past thirty years, the electorate has mostly been selecting the evil of two lessers. I mean, seriously, W for a second term? That was just unmitigatedly stupid (I’m willing for forgive the suspect first term as an “oopsie”). Obama? Mediocre at best. In neither case can I say I’m particularly disappointed because I honestly wasn’t expecting much–and they’ve delivered.
There is a saying that no one ever got elected by saying ey was going to raise taxes. Why do you think so many politicians shout about tax cuts? Because they care for anyone that isn’t them and their buddies? Not on my Aunt Petunia’s* aching bunion. I like to think that the continual decline in American education is accidental and not part of some plan to keep the larger populace untrained in critical thinking…but with each election cycle it gets harder and harder to not think that the results aren’t intended.
But I digress. The fact is that Congress no longer works. The right is obstructionist and the left couldn’t find their ass if they took their heads out of them. Or…the left is obstructionist and the right are fat cats who make Garfield seem anorexic. Depends which way the wind is blowing.
Can it be fixed? I think, yeah…maybe. How? It’s third party time. The old-time conservative Republicans still in the GOP (I’m thinking Nixon-era…what would now be called moderate Democrats) should join with the moderates of both parties to form a new Do-something party. Leave the fringes for the tea-baggers and the socialist-types. A lot of the griping from the country isn’t that they wouldn’t vote for these types, but that it’s gotten hard for many to tell them apart from the lunatics who are running the asylum.
Since people can’t vote for “none of the above”, unless the elected ones opt to change the game, nothing is going to get done. There is no incentive, and there is no threat. One of the panderers will get elected and will vote how they are told to vote by those with enough money and clout. But, if large pieces of the elephant and donkey parties break away, then maybe the voice of reason can once again be heard in the chambers of Congress.
Hey, a guy can dream.
* Disclaimer: I don’t have an Aunt Petunia–it was just a rhetorical device.