I tend to avoid politics like the plague. When I do discuss things, I generally listen to my conversational partner’s position and then take the opposing one, just to stay mentally agile. Disenfranchised with the candidates, I restrained from voting in the last Presidential election. Sitting on the sidelines, I was thoroughly impressed with Obama’s speaking ability, the historic nature of his ascension, and the idea that the future might produce opportunity. As for McCain, his heroism in combat, the institutional memory he brought to the race, and his passion for the nation, all inspired me. On the issues, however, both candidates seemed vacuous at best. Still, that omnipresent and wholly American trait called Unabashed Hope nestled into bed with me and I slept peacefully, knowing our representatives would find their way through the maelstrom.
Here we are three-and-a-half years later and it seems Washington has done the impossible. Things are worse. Unemployment has doubled, the national debt has doubled, the health care bill is about to be tossed out, we haven’t actually won either war, and in the past two years – in the House and the Senate – the President’s budgets have received zero votes in favor and 610 votes against.
Here’s an interesting statistic about our priorities: Out here in sunny California where pseudo-celebrity derrieres and Botoxed songstress/whores run rampant, we spend $8,667 per student per year and about $50,000 per inmate per year. I’m suggesting we might reconsider our present path.
I’m driving at something depressing here. When I grew up, I believed in the American Dream, that democracy’s representatives could lead us to prosperity, that opportunity and happiness and realization was everyone’s end game. But somewhere along the path from pubescence to my prime, I lost faith in the system. I no longer think any of them are out for our benefit. I’ve taken the position that even the best-intentioned candidates succumb to the arrogance of power. Consequently, I’m throwing out a few ideas:
- One term only for all candidates—staggered to maintain institutional memory.
- Balanced budget due by February 1st each year or we revoke salaries and have new elections.
- Provide budget categories on our tax forms and let us decide where our tax dollars go.
- Congress shall spend 90% of its time in their own districts and 10% in Washington.
- Create a campaign network that only runs for two months before all non-Presidential elections and allocate each candidate a specific number of presentations at no cost. The network will also host all political debates. Then, eliminate political campaigning on network TV.
- Eliminate retirement and health care benefits for all representatives and let them find their way like the rest of us.
I could go on ad infinitum but those are a few things that might make power-hungry people think twice before heading to the East Coast to pad their resume and grab some of the taxpayer dollars. Until something changes, we are kicking the can down the road to our offspring, and when those poor kids bend down to pick it up, they are going to feel the brunt force of history rammed right where the sun don’t shine.