First off, let me be clear that I’m not bitter about the results. I actually prefer having each major party represented in some fashion, to keep things somewhat balanced and representative. Besides, the Democrats were in full control for two years, and spent most of their time squabbling and whining about “getting in trouble” with Republicans. Please! A little forced compromise is usually a good thing.
That said, I’m not happy that Americans have become so jaded (or ignorant) that they think any old dogma-spewing candidate will do. Much of what you were told from these “outsiders” was one huge pack of lies.
The Tea Party preaches smaller government, but many of the major candidates don’t really care about the size of government, only that Big Business has first dibs on all aspects of your life. The freedom they are preaching for is NOT what you’re going to get with less government.1 You’re only trading “of the people” for “at the whim of the corporate machine.”
Jon Runyan, newly elected “anti-spending” Republican Congressman from District 3 in New Jersey, owes his fame and fortune to public funding of football stadiums. Sure, most of the funding is state and municipal, but rest assured, both types of funding are almost always offset by seeking more federal grants to pay for other projects. Philadelphia’s Lincoln Financial Field used $180 million in initial public funding, not including maintenance or improvements over a projected a 20-year life.2,3
After the election, Tea Party leadership went on TV (which shouldn’t have even happened in my opinion) to say that they don’t hate Obama. Need I even BOTHER recapping the last two years? Every major Tea Party event was FILLED with baseless vitriol and manufactured outrage about every aspect of Obama’s life, heritage, and intelligence. Much was based on race or religion and thus clearly rooted in hate. Aside from the widespread racism, lying about someone, PERIOD, is rooted in hate.
A few times, we were reminded that this move “gives power back to the people.” Does it now? The new “populist” Speaker, John Boehner, has more ties to corporations than Nancy Pilosi could ever dream of.4 Anti-bailout? Pro-small business? How could he be, with a long-lasting romance with Citibank and Goldman Sachs, among many other megagigantacorps that don’t play well with small business, and would just as soon see you rot in hell. This is why his crying and preaching about small-business and the little guy left a rotten taste in my mouth. The hypocrisy was enough to rot teeth.
Dozens of times I heard “The people have spoken,” which is already getting ridiculous. First, the President’s party almost ALWAYS loses power in midterms—only twice in the last 75 years has the President’s party not lost seats during midterms. Often, both the House AND Senate flop to the other party. Polls will show you time and time again that Americans prefer both parties represented, because, just as we saw, one party controlling all branches simply isn’t very effective.
And aside from that, Republicans and Tea Party folks are already forgetting that the people spoke in November 2008, and they were begging for health care reform, tax relief, more spending on the PEOPLE and less on corporations, as well as protections from the excesses of Wall Street. Where were you after the people spoke in 2008? Already manufacturing outrage and making signs saying “Fire Pilosi” and “Show me the birth certificate,” and you were busy helping Republicans obstruct anything that might make the people feel like they mattered.
The last two years have been spent doing NOTHING other than plotting a win this month, NOT thinking about or acting on any issues that mattered.5 Your manufactured concern NOW for the people’s voice is as repulsive as your manufactured outrage over manufactured issues. Republicans won in many cases NOT in some populist zeal to take back government for themselves, but in a desperate move to remind do-nothings (on all sides) that you are not getting paid to spend two years campaigning for the next election. Never mind the fact that MANY voters just stayed home in disgust.
You see, most people only want to vote in the “big ones” and to them, that means presidential elections. Those who have easiest access to the polls are the ones who stay home all day listening to fatheads on TV spewing for-profit nonsense and the idle rich, who can simply vote whenever they like. (I’m in a lucky minority of folks who have the day off, paid, on mid-term AND presidential elections.)
The simple fact is, people are disgusted with ALL of Washington, not because it’s TOO affective on our lives, but because it’s ineffective in fixing problems. The Republicans in the House aren’t going to be any better.
And for people who are sick of this madness in general, here are a few suggestions:
- Demand that we change a few things. US Representatives should have 4-year terms, elected on every Presidential election cycle, and US Senators should have 8-year terms, elected every OTHER Presidential election cycle. States should also only hold statewide elections on Presidential election cycles. Period. Congressmen who are only concerned about re-election rarely do what is NEEDED to make this country great.
- Congressional districts should ONLY be drawn by non-partisan citizen groups. Lines should be drawn county-by-county as much as possible, rather than chopping up towns and neighborhoods just to get the “right mix” to guarantee an outcome. If you think there is no problem, check out Texas. Both parties have played this game, and both must stop. Controlled elections are NOT free elections, no matter how many flags you wave.
- Demand that “news” channels be forbidden use of that term unless their network airs at least 20 hours of real news, not yelling and screaming about manufactured outrage or scaring people into buying books to save the country! Better yet, donate to PBS and watch NewsHour.
- Call for an end to all Federal discretionary spending in states that rallied around small-government and less spending. Is there anything wrong with giving them what they want? Many states, Rand Paul’s Kentucky included, get FAR MORE back from the Feds than they pay in. Just about every “red” state does. Time for a reality check—GIVE THEM WHAT THEY WANT!
- Explain to people what fascism and socialism are—and do the same for just about every other “catch phrase” used on Fox News. I’ll get you started:
fascism [fash-iz-uh m] -n. any right-wing nationalist ideology or movement with an authoritarian and hierarchical structure that is fundamentally opposed to democracy and liberalism.
Fascism very often melds corporatist interests with governmental control. Free markets are stifled by corporate control of all aspects of the economy. Jews in Germany operated outside of corporate interests, and thus had to go. We’re already to the point that US corporations can essentially take out any small guy who gets in their way, and have full blessings of the government, impeded only by the very liberal anti-monopoly regulations we have. (They’re working on dismantling those, right now!) Letting corporations dictate the value of human life after buying a few politicians is as close to fascism as we’ve come so far.
socialism [soh-shuh-liz-uh m] -n. a theory or system of social organization that advocates the vesting of the ownership and control of the means of production and distribution, of capital, land, etc., in the community as a whole.
Had President Obama advocated taking over all factories and utilities, then yes, socialism would be the right term. Letting people collectively bargain for better health insurance is NOT socialism, particularly when the plan was for a PAID system like Medicare. It was “conservative” obstructionism that turned the bill into what it became, a way of protecting corporate interests and keeping American lives as nothing more than commodities for corporate control. The great irony is that many old people currently on Medicare were rallied together against “a government takeover of health care.”
- Stop sniveling and have some pride in your message. This country now thinks the person with the biggest mouth on TV is the most trustworthy. After all, they wouldn’t be on the “news” if they were lying. Liberals, and the real patriots are drowned out by loud-mouth, self-serving corporatists. Stop letting it happen. Call ’em like you see ’em. The fatheads on Fox are nothing but snake-oil salesmen, convincing Americans that the country is sick and only they have the cure…for a price, of course. A fool and his money (and sense) are soon to part.
- See http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/10/19/AR2010101906085.html
- See http://www.sportsbusinessdaily.com/Journal/Issues/2003/09/20030915/Facilities/Lincoln-Financial-Field.aspx?hl=%22club%20seats%22&sc=0
- See http://www.commonwealthfoundation.org/research/detail/philadelphia-stadium-deal-great-for-teams
- See http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/12/us/politics/12boehner.html?hp=&pagewanted=all
- See http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/04/us/politics/04campaign.html?_r=1&hp