Monday, July 11, 2011

An Open Letter to the US Congress

I have often wondered what I would say and how I would say it if I ever had an opportunity to address a joint session of the Congress with the US president and vice president in attendance. There are times - especially during an election season - when I become so infuriated and frustrated with the ridiculously juvenile behavior of so many grown and educated men and women that I just want to disappear. There are times when I am entirely too involved in politics, and there are those times when I wonder if I am involved enough.

I say all this as an individual, an individual who has no voice in the Congress. I write to my representative often, but I always get back a vague form letter the content of which clearly reveals that neither he nor his aides actually read my letters. And why should they worry about me? I am just one person with no political connections. I am not part of any corporate lobbying effort, and I do not speak on behalf of any social organization that may constitute a threat to this representative's reelection. I just want to know what my congressman believes, where he stands, and how he intends to address the current problems. He's been in office for ten years, and I still am not sure. My senators? Well, one historically takes weeks, sometimes months to even get around to a vague answer, and the other one is new to his office. He hasn't had time to upset me just yet.

So what would I say to the Congress? Could I address them as this lone individual who is struggling to pay bills and keep up with rising prices? Could I make a reasoned and impassioned plea that would cause the Congress to join hands and sing, "Kumbayah"? Doubtful. I seriously doubt this posting on my blog will go very far because my counter says I get about 30 hits per week. I am not widely read nor am I known outside of my own little community, but I have something to say and my concerns should matter because I am not an extraordinary person - which is to say there must surely be others across the nation who not only agree with me but who feel as frustrated and as impotent and even as threatened as I when it comes to the behavior and conduct of our Congress and this incredibly detached US president. So here goes ...

Ladies and gentlemen (and I use these terms loosely):

If you ever wondered if you are making a difference in what you do, let me offer you this perspective: you are making no difference whatsoever. You are simply a face in the crowd of hateful, mean-spirited, vindictive, power-hungry rubes you worked so hard to distinguish yourselves from when you were begging for the job in the first place. You made promises you cannot constitutionally or even reasonably keep, but you made these promises because your political advisors told you what the crowds wanted to hear. Do you get the irony in this last statement? That you wanted to be a representative of the people, but you needed to hire professional advisors who could tell you what and who the people really are whom you claim to be capable of representing?

At best, I see the entire Congress and the office of the president (and vice president) occupied by a bunch of silly, sniveling pork-mongers who will sell your own souls for reelection. If I did not have such disdain for your conduct, I might actually pity you ... for you are a pitiable bunch.

Just this morning on one of the news channels, a Republican congressman was making his case for refusing to vote to raise the debt ceiling. I happen to agree with him, but it is not because he made a compelling argument. No, what he did do was to try and convince those who will listen that the Democrats are trying to destroy the country. Then a Democratic colleague was asked the same question, and all he did was to try and convince those who will listen that the Republicans are trying to destroy Medicare and kick granny out into the street (a very popular catchphrase, that). Neither of these persons made their own arguments. They only used the opportunity to try and discredit their opponents. It makes me wonder if they can make their case at all and if they cannot make their own case, what do they really know? I know what they say, but I seriously question what they actually know.

I know this debt ceiling fight is not the first nor will it be the last. This is because this Congress and this president lack the fortitude to do what is necessary to reign in government spending - in spite of their lofty promises. It is much easier to increase spending, justify this increase by telling people how you have "rescued" them and thus justify the "need" to raise taxes to pay for the increases. Raising taxes has successfully been spun in such a way that you are able to sell it to your constituents as "acting responsibly" or "rolling up your sleeves" and "making the tough decisions". Sadder still, too many voters actually believe you because you have successfully managed to convince these people that their sorry lot in life is actually someone else's fault, and you are there to make them pay.

The Republicans may be trying to protect us from the Democrats and the Democrats may be trying to protect us from the Republicans, but who is going to protect the nation from the Congress?? When will a voice of reason rise above the din of the chatter and congressional contempt? I can look forward to the day when the Lord will return, but that may be a long way off. In the meantime we must continue to endure your insufferable nonsense because, like you, we seem to lack the fortitude to make our own "tough decisions" and remove all incumbents from these offices. We have been convinced that we cannot do without all that "experience", but from my perspective all this "experience" has just made things much worse. Same begets same, as the saying goes, and nothing will change until the Congress has been changed. Our only saving grace in the White House is that the president's term is limited.

If we can ever get back to a time when citizen-legislators did their congressional business and then returned to their own private businesses that would possibly rise or fall based on how they conducted government business, I suspect we would all be much better off. You would no longer be guaranteed a political career, free travel, and substantial lifetime pensions. You might also have a better grasp of the realities of commerce as a means of wealth creation and as a sufficient defense of the dignity of the human person and American worker. Instead, you need to continue to sustain a needy class of persons dependent upon the benevolence of the US government in order to justify your own positions. In the process you have created a national debt of incomprehensible numbers and continue to run a staggering annual deficit few can understand, which would include, of course, each of you in this Congress. It is only in the advent of a new election season that you have decided it is time to "get serious" about the debt, the deficit, spending, and the debt ceiling. Surely you must have seen it coming at the rate of spending and considering you've been here before just during this president's first (and hopefully last) term. Bless your hearts, I honestly think you do not know any better.

You should all be ashamed of yourselves but judging by your public posturing and running to media microphones after each meeting, I doubt very seriously that you are capable of feeling shame. I think you have all gotten a little too full of yourselves, you have all lost your sense of humility as Christians (for those of you who claim to be) AND as public "servants". You try to play yourselves off as political "leaders" which would clearly indicate you have forgotten - or ditched altogether - your role as REPRESENTATIVES.

Above all else, you have disgraced yourselves and an entire nation because you refuse to listen unless your position is threatened. You will not listen to your constituents, you pay no attention to real numbers, and you refuse to offer even fundamental respect to persons of the opposite party. You cannot make your own case on its own merits because you seem compelled to poke holes in your opponents' case. I know how much easier it is to find fault than to find solutions, but perhaps you cannot make your case because you simply do not have one.

I have not perused each individual website of each individual member of Congress, but what I have seen is filled to the brim with empty rhetoric short on substance but long on party platitudes. You are all for jobs, yet you have created a heavily taxed commercial environment that is not conducive to commercial investment. You are all for energy independence, yet you have created an environment that is hostile to domestic exploration, research, and production. You are all for limited government intervention, yet you all seem to have had a hand in creating or expanding government agencies to an unsustainable level. In the midst of all this, you try to lay all the blame on one person after you gave him virtually a free hand in all he has proposed.

In short, ladies and gentlemen, you have done nothing for the nation but you seem to have all done plenty for yourselves and your own financial well-being. As previously stated, you should be ashamed of yourselves but I find it very unlikely that you are so capable because we all know you will vote to increase the debt limit, you will vow to make corrections so as to never have to do this again, and then you will meet again very soon because spending on the federal level is so out of control no one can tell with certainty how soon you will have pegged out the US treasury yet again. If you have been to this table three times in two years, my guess is that you will revisit this tired subject at least twice more before November 2012.

I wish you all good health and prosperous careers ... in the private sector.


No comments: