Robert's Random Ravings

Can’t we all just get along?

Tomorrow is the 2010 midterm elections (finally!!). I know that I will be glad to see it done with. The tone of the elections has been so negative – it seems to get more and more so each election cycle. Billions of dollars are being spent nationwide to elect Governors, Senators, State Representatives and scores of other government officials. But at the end of the day, what will really have been accomplished?

The Tea Party is a recent movement that seems to be riding on a groundswell of dissatisfaction with the federal government. People are supposedly tired of Washington and its inability to actually listen to the citizens and do what they need done. The Tea Party is not alone in this. I am not a tea-partier, but I am also very dissatisfied with the direction of the federal government and the state government here in Texas.

I voted for Obama in the 2008 presidential election. I was hopeful that it would be the start of a new day in Washington. Of course, the minute President Obama got elected, the Republicans started to march in lockstep in total and complete opposition to any and everything that Obama’s administration tried to do. Obama is far from perfect. Don’t get me wrong. But what do you think might have been accomplished if the Democrats and Republicans had decided to work together to fix the things that are wrong in our country as opposed to making sure their own party retains power? There is something seriously wrong with a system that encourages little more than a 24/7/365 election cycle. Our Senators and Representatives are supposed to work for us – “we the people.” Not the other way around.

When I see candidates on both sides slinging mud at each other instead of telling me what their plans/ideas are, I am disgusted. When I see gross misrepresentation and outright lies used in campaign commercials, it literally sickens me to my stomach. Unfortunately, both parties are guilty of this.

At any rate, after this election is over and the counts are in, it is likely that, at the very least, the House of Representatives will become a Republican majority. It is possible, though not nearly as likely, that the Senate, too, will pass into Republican control. It will be interesting to see how this plays out over the next 2 years. Will the Republicans continue to be the party of No? Will they continue to oppose any proposals that come from the President or the Democrats (even when they include ideas they themselves used to champion), without actually making proposals of their own? Will there be any fresh ideas on either side of the political spectrum?

Unfortunately, I think we will see more of the same. With the Republicans in power, we will probably see the Democrats start using a lot of the same obstructionist tactics that the Republicans have used over the last 2 years. Instead of taking the hint from a sea change that the people of America want to see a balance in government and all sides working for the betterment of the country, we will probably see more entrenchment and bickering. This simply cannot continue.

I don’t care if you are a Democrat or a Republican. We are Americans first and that should be our concern, not a political party. We have pushed too much to the extremes in both major parties and it is leaving the moderates (both liberal and conservative) in the dust. Let’s hold our elected officials accountable for representing our interests – not the interests of their allies/supporters/friends. Public office should not be a get rich quick scheme. It is service to the public. I think it is high time we demanded that level of service from our elected officials.

11/01/2010 Posted by | Politics | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why is our Congress so out of touch with the lives of the rest of us?

US Capitol Building

US Capitol Building

Just in the last few weeks, they were asking the Pentagon to add a few extra planes to their budget so that they could travel in style. See, when Senators or Representatives travel, they want to travel in luxury. The same planes that we travel in, stuffed with 140 or so passengers, they want to use to shuttle around groups of ten or twelve or so. This is supposed to help with their productivity. All I see it helping is their comfort.

Nowhere in the Constitution is there a guarantee of luxury for those that serve the nation in the Senate or the House of Representatives, yet this is what they believe that they are entitled to.

Let’s take another example. We have seen a circus lately around the whole debate for health care reform. Anyone that has been paying attention lately (or has had to go to the doctor) knows that something needs to be done. Even if you have insurance, you have to jump through such hoops to get the care you need. Of course, Congress does not have to. They have great health care. So, of course, they aren’t all that concerned with reforming health care. Theirs is already fine.

The members of Congress are elected to serve us, the people. It is not the other way around. They should not be entitled to have better health care, or better access to loans from banks (at considerable discounts), or get free travel from lobbyists, or any other gifts, just because they are elected officials. All of this has to stop.

I think one of the best ways to make this stop is to finally put term limits in place on Representatives and Senators. We have term limits on the President. Most states have term limits on the governor. Why, then, do we oppose term limits on the other high offices in the land? When people get entrenched into their positions in the House or the Senate, they become more and more susceptible to corrupting influences from all sides. This has to change, and soon.

We changed Presidents last year after much talk about the low approval ratings that President Bush had. Yet the Congress has much lower ratings than President Bush had. Why are we not bringing in new blood there? I don’t care how much you like any particular politician. I challenge any and all to vote for new blood in 2010. Let’s dump the incumbents. Let’s start anew.

Are you with me??

08/18/2009 Posted by | Politics | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Congress – the height of ineptitude

Millions of Americans are suffering. Hundreds of thousands are losing their jobs every month. Meanwhile, the 435 members of the House of Representatives and the 100 members of the Senate don’t seem to have any sense of urgency when it comes to passing an economic stimulus package that will help our economy. After all, most of them are very well off economically. None of them have to worry about medical insurance or health care, because they all have it.

I am not naïve enough to think that the mere act of spending upwards of $1 trillion will solve our economic problems. But it seems to me that now is the time to think big and stop worrying about party politics and business as usual. The last 8 years have been a complete failure on so many levels, including economics. We have seen that tax cuts for the rich and trickle-down economics are not the answer. It is time to try something else. The American people made it very clear to Congress in November that we don’t like the way things have been going and we want to see change. What we do not want to see is voting strictly on party lines.

I was sickened and very disheartened with the vote in the House last week in which not one Republican felt they could support the economic stimulus. We need bold thinkers – people that will “think out of the box” and not just trot out all the tired old “remedies” and “tricks” that just simply do not work. Will our Congress start to understand that?

Maybe it is time that we started to enact some limitations on our congressmen and congresswomen. I have long been a proponent of term limits for Congress. If it works for the Office of President, why not apply it to the House and the Senate? Maybe if we stopped letting people stay in office indefinitely, they would start actually governing as opposed to spending all of their time trying to get re-elected. Politics should not be a profession. It should be service to the country. In its current form, it is nothing more than a stepping stone. Our government is supposed to be of the people and by the people. Yet the people in Congress cannot possibly relate to the majority of the population because they are really not “of us.” Sure they may start that way, but the power peddling is a corrupting influence on EVERY one of them. I don’t think anyone is free from the “taint” of special interests and this is just not the way it is supposed to be.

02/06/2009 Posted by | Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments