I am sickened by our elected officials, truly to the point now where I simply want to put my cowboy boots on and stomp some azz. The problem is, as someone recently pointed out, whose?
Is it those who are so comfortable in their offices in Washington, failing to do the people’s business who require azz stomping? Or alternatively, is it those who continue to put them there either through their failure to exercise their right to vote or worse by actually voting to return these dinosaurs back time and again. These are questions that are weighing on my mind, they trouble me deeply.
In 2008, after the election and swearing in of President Barack Obama, Mitch McConnell (R) Minority Leader said in an interview to the National Journal (available only to subscribers):
Since that time, the GOP in both the House and Senate have their marching orders and have done nothing but obstruct. Do not get me wrong, they are often assisted by their opponents on the other side of the aisle who fail to lay clear terms and draw clear lines. The problem is, no one is working toward common ground that is in the people’s best interest. Each and every elected official we send to do our business in Washington is beholden to some entity that is not us, not the people. They seem to forget they are there to do the peoples business, that it is us that foot the bill with our tax dollars, they forget us once they have attached themselves to the golden teat that is the public fund.
Let’s take a look at recent events and recent legislation (pass or fail).
House votes to repeal Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare), not once, not twice but 33 times in all. Hope springs eternal says Speaker of the House, John Boehner. The cost of this wasted time, it is good question and here is the answer; $71,225,000,000.00 in real terms, I could buy a lot of school lunches and back to school books with what John Boehner and the House Republicans wasted with symbolic debates and repeal votes to
pacifying the Tea Party.
Since 2008 there has been a war waged against women and their reproductive privacy and rights. This war is at every level, State and Federal. It is waged on Senate floors and on the airwaves. No low is too low and no insult to ugly. No fewer than 1,000 pieces of legislation have been introduced to restrict women’s access to health care services, birth control and abortion. Whether you are pro-life or pro-choice is irrelevant at this point, these are just two at a national level.
- Representative Joe Pitts (R-PA) introduced a HR 358 – the “Protect Life Act” allowing states to deny insurance coverage for abortion including transport to a facility that would provide a woman with an abortion even if failure to provide an abortion would mean the death of the woman. The “Let Women Die Act” passed the House on 10/13/11.
- Finally, last but not least is HR 3803, introduced by Rep Trent Franks (Rep), this lovely piece of trash had no less than 220 co-sponsors. Named the District of Columbia Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, it is a nothing more or less than another end run around Roe v. Wade, another clear message to women everywhere, ‘you have no value.’ This Bill clearly says, save the ‘fetus’ first, never mind the pregnant woman. Thankfully, it failed despite the 17 Yea votes by Democrats under Suspension of Rules.
So what is really happening, these days? We have a few Democrats walking off the farm, they do this consistently. Take a look at them, where they are from and you have to ask yourself why do they even bother to call themselves Democrats, why not call themselves Moderate Republicans, centrists? But then, they would face a Tea Party challenge and like Dewhurst in Texas last week, they would lose, they would be
unemployed faster than they could spend their own money in their campaign.
The world of politics is changing, in truth it is getting damned ugly. Members of the GOP are walking away from their seats, simply walking away. They are leaving us with these thoughts on the state of politics and government in Washington.
Rep. Richard Hanna (R) has announced his retirement two days ago with these words:
Rep. Steve LaTourette (R) has announced his retirement this week as well, here is what he had to say:
“The time has come for not only good politics, but good policy and I have reached a conclusion that the atmosphere today and the reality that exists in the House of Representatives no longer encourages the finding of common ground.”
Earlier this year Sen. Olympia Snowe (R) announced she would not seek re-election, here is what she had to say:
“As I have long said, what motivates me is producing results for those who have entrusted me to be their voice and their champion, and I am filled with that same sense of responsibility today as I was on my first
day in the Maine House of Representatives. I do find it frustrating, however, that an atmosphere of polarization and ‘my way or the highway’ ideologies has become pervasive in campaigns and in our governing institutions.”
We have lost some of our Democratic stalwarts as well, Barney Frank and Charlie Gonzalez, just two among the nine who have announced their retirement in the past year. The field is changing. Nothing is certain and we will see shifts in both houses of Congress with the next election. The problem though, if we don’t see a Congress that is willing and capable of compromise, willing to seek common ground we will continue to be mired in the muck. Our nation will continue to flounder. If we do not elect to Congress public servants capable and competent to govern, we as a nation will continue to degrade in the eyes of the world and as a player on the world stage.
If we don’t seek excellence over a good sound bite, statesmanship over single-issue we fail our today and all our tomorrows. I am sick to death of being afraid of having a discussion about politics for fear of losing a friend. I want to shine a light on our very real need to have those discussions, join those debates and not be afraid of disagreement. We can disagree and still be friends that is what makes us great the ability to debate our ideas without killing each other, at least that is what use to make us great.
These days though, the debate isn’t so pleasant people are afraid to add their voice to add their comments. There is only three ways it is either the vicious attack dog style, the ‘I love you but disagree’, or ‘I agree’. In the first there is never a good ending. In the second there is never a discussion and in the last we already agree.
What comes next? Where do we go from here? I certainly have my own ideas of what needs to happen. Clearly some of the GOP are beginning to feel the same way I do, put on their boots and wade out of the quagmire, but that doesn’t fix the problem does it?