Here I am again, if you can believe it. I didn’t drop off the face of the Earth, but it’s been a hard couple of months. I’ve been unemployed for over 2 months now and it wears on a person. My muse took a hike to the Carribbean. I couldn’t afford to go with her. She’s such a fair weather friend. Forget her and forget Jobu – we’ll hit homeruns without them.
One of the things that I used to like to do was to check in on the world of politics and see what’s happening there. It’s nice to be informed about what the folks on Capitol Hill are up to these days.
Since the sequester, I don’t really give a damn, to be quite honest. No, let me rephrase that – I don’t look cause it just pisses me off. I’d rather watch really sappy romcoms and cry into my ice cream. God knows, that’s more than what Congress is doing these days.
Hey, guys and gals up there in Congress – when bed bugs and proctology exams have a better approval rating than you do, you should maybe check yourselves. When your nickname is “The Do Nothing Congress,” maybe you shouldn’t vote yourselves a raise and over 200 days of vacation for this session.
Let’s stop for a second and address that last sentence. I want to know how in the world they go the ability to give themselves raises and give themselves paid days off. Now, let me know if I’ve gotten this wrong: we, the people, elect representatives to Congress as our employees. Yet, the employees get to give themselves pay raises and days off?
IN WHAT WORLD DOES THAT HAPPEN??
Does anyone else see the issue I have with this? I get that being on Capitol Hill is tiring, what will all the lobbyists paying for your junkets to warm and sunny places and paying for amazing meals at 5 star restaurants. All the flesh they have to press to get people to put money in their campaign coffers. I understand that it’s really hard having some of the best health care in the world available to them FOREVER after they have served their time.
But I don’t think that justifies them giving themselves pay raises and vacation days. Especially since they CAN’T DO THEIR JOBS when they are at work.
This Congress has failed, for the last 6 years, to send a budget up the pike to be signed. No lie. No budget for the last 6 years.
Isn’t that part of their job description? If I were working for a company and I didn’t do my job, I surely wouldn’t get a raise or copious vacation days.
Another thing that I have a problem with is the unwillingness of both sides to compromise at all. Now, you may think that this stems from them all being idiots (which may not be far from the mark, honestly), but I think it goes deeper than that.
Do you know how much it costs to run for a national office in this country? Over one million dollars. Now, most folks (even those on Capitol Hill) don’t have that kind of money to throw around, so they have to get donors. Add into that that the Supreme Court ruled that corporations could donate money like they were people, and you set the stage for uncompromising politics.
How does that work? Well, a corporation, let’s say Toyota, gives a candidate over $500,000 to their campaign. They do this because the candidate promises that they will make sure to protect the interests of the corporation when they vote or consider bills. Basically, the candidate has sold his soul to Toyota and they will do whatever it takes to make sure that Toyota’s interests are protected above all else.
Now, consider the religious right and uber-conservatives. They are loud and proud about what they believe and how they think that we should all live our lives. They donate copious amounts of money to candidates that they think will share their views. So the candidates go into Congress having already sold their votes to the highest bidder. Because they are bought and sold, they cannot compromise. Why? Because then their donors may not donate to their campaigns again so that they can be reelected to office.
And there’s the third problem: reelection.
Congress, and politics in general, were never meant to be a career path. In other words, the original idea was to serve your term and then go back to your lives. This is why the Founding Fathers did not sell their plantations and businesses when they went to Congress. Because they knew that they would be returning there as soon as their terms were over. They were not going to be in politics forever. Unlike the folks we have there now. For example, the late Strom Thurmand (the honorable Senator from South Carolina) was in Congress longer than my grandmother had been alive.
Longer than my grandmother had been alive. Let that sink in for a minute.
That’s over 75 years in office.
That was never the intent. That was never how it was supposed to be.
So, how do we fix Congress? A few things:
1) Get rid of lobbyists. Special interests have no place on Capitol Hill. We have lost our Congress to special interests and they are no longer working in the interest of the greater good. They are working in the interests of the greater rich and mighty.
2) Impose term limits. No one should be on Capitol Hill more than two terms. Except maybe Representatives, who could serve 4 terms (an equivalent of 8 years). Senators would be there for no more than 12 years and Presidents, obviously, no more than 8 (except in special circumstances).
3) Overhaul political donation law. There should be utter transparency in who donates to which candidate, especially if it’s a company. If we remove the ability of corporations to donate like people, maybe we’ll get something other than rich folks in Congress.
4) Overhaul how Congress gets paid. Take away the right for Congress to give themselves raises. Any raise that they want needs to be put to a vote in each state. If your state likes you, you’ll get a raise. If not, well….the military hasn’t seen a base pay raise in forever and their cost of living raises don’t cover dick. Welcome to the real world. If you don’t do your job, you don’t get paid.
This is just a start. But if the folks on Capitol Hill start feeling the pinch that the rest of us are feeling, maybe things will change. Maybe, just maybe, it will make a difference. But something has to change. Something has to give.
And I’m tired of being the one that is always having their back broken so that they can continue in their lifestyles like nothing has changed. I feel like the peasants of Russia before the Russian revolution and my leaders, like the Tsar and his family, are so out of touch with how the world really is right now for so many of us.
I know, I know. I’m spitting in the wind with these wishes and if wishes were horses, beggars would ride. But I have to wish. A wish may not change the world right now, but maybe it will in the future. If we all wish hard enough, and strive to make that change that will make our wishes come true, maybe it will in the future. But for right now, we all just slog along, making it work with what we have.
And writing about it on our blogs to get it off of our chests.