Friday, August 05, 2011

How Far Out of Touch Have Politicians Gotten?

Politicians. I hate them (if you couldn't tell from this post, which I highly recommend you read before continuing with this one). With this whole debt ceiling debacle still hanging over us, we have to ask, what the heck is wring with politicians, and how far out of touch with humanity have they gotten?

In a great article by the New York Times, it seems like people are finally realizing that politicians don't care about them. Instead of acting in their constituent's best interests, or at least honestly listening to what they want, politicians are instead voting along party lines, doing their best to help themselves and their party members re-elected, and overall  not caring about what happens to the rest of us.

Let's look at some of the facts about the debt ceiling issue. 

1. The debt ceiling has been raised forty-four times. Of those times, thirty-four have been for the short term (Source). 
2.President Obama himself has voted against raising the debt ceiling in the past (Source). 
3.The political party not in power has typically criticized raising the debt limit and voted against raising it again (Source, again).

Now, let's ask some questions.
1. Why did Republicans finally dig in their heels now? Why dig them in so deeply?
2. Why did it take so long for negotiations to even begin?
3. Why has "compromise" become such a dirty word in Washington?
4. Why were both parties using this as an excuse to bash the other one, instead of working harder to find a solution?
5. Will we the people of the United States put up with this come 2012?

Look, I'll make this simple. First off, we don't need to be running a deficit to begin with. If citizens can't run a deficit, if businesses can't run a deficit, and if Bank of America is still allowed to foreclose on homes, then why should our government, who is urging us to save more money and pay our bills, allowed to spend more than it makes for several years running? Second, all the political nonsense was unnecessary. Who was it really helping? The stalemate hurt everyone, even hurt the people who are in the same party but haven't entered a single race yet. Third, there was way too much misinformation being spread around. I can understand some people getting their facts wrong, but it almost seems like bad information was being put out there just to scare the public and put more pressure on opponents in Congress. Finally, make no mistake, all parties here were at fault. It wasn't just the Republicans. It wasn't just the Democrats. It wasn't just the Tea Party movement. Everyone in Washington got a 500 Smith & Wesson Magnum and took turns shooting themselves in the foot. 

Of course, this has been just one instance. A very revealing one, yes, but just one. This is the kind of bull that is impeding our progress as a nation. So how do we fix it? For one, research the candidates you want to vote for. Not just what they say, but their voting record and bills they've supported. This is all public record. Another solution is to vote against the incumbent whenever possible. The faster the rotation, the less time the representative has to get too comfortable and play the Washington game. And a last resort solution is to write to your representative. Now, I know elementary school has taught you that writing to a Congressperson actually does some good, but let's face it, it doesn't. The representative has his or her underlings answer the phone calls and answer the letters and emails. However, if they get enough people wanting something AND the previous measures are used to keep the representative on their toes, change can occur.

The debt ceiling fiasco was avoidable. It was all political nonsense that made it into the drama that brought us to the edge and ruined our reputation in the international community. We can fix it, but it will be hard. Speak your mind and prevent something like this from ever happening again by casting your vote wisely.

What do you think? Do you agree? Disagree? I'm interested in hearing from you! Leave a comment or have contacts with me to open up a discussion! 

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