The Problem is Us

soapboxpileWe are the greatest problem in our own government at every level, we the people that is.  Our lazy, pedantic manner of shuffling to the polls, pulling the lever or punching the card with no thought other than what letter is after the name, rather than considering the consequence of our vote.  With our pitiful allegiance to party or even worse our zombie like love affair with those who have screwed us time and again, we know their names though and pull the lever for them as if they were members of our dysfunctional family.

We are the greatest problem with Washington, we have no one but ourselves to blame for every single bad behavior, delinquent assclownery and filibuster for fun currently occurring on the hill.

America, we truly do have a problem and that problem is us!

We are lazy, we are intellectual plodders, we are sheep who refuse to see the cliff we are running toward blindly but with great glee.  We willfully wave the flag of patriotism the moment anyone suggests we might not be the “best” country in the world, yet we fail on every scale that matters to measure up to other industrialized nations.  What matters you ask, how about the following:

  • Primary education, ranked 18th
  • University education, the most costly in the world
  • Trade Schools, the most costly in the world
  • Highest number of citizens held in prison for non-violent crimes (millions)
    • Related to this, highest number of juveniles sentenced as adults

I could go on with that list, those are just some of the highlights, poverty grows, racism runs rampant, inequity is wagging the dog and women are dancing the two-step backward with every election.  The real problem though, it isn’t those clowns in the state houses, nor is it the clowns in Congress; the real problem is us.

Every single time we have the opportunity to go to the polls and exercise our right to vote, we fail to exercise our most important muscle, our mind.  We have handed over the town square, kicked over the soapbox and Wikipedia Imageplaced our necks into the Pillory without force of arms.  We are sheep, no matter whether we are pulling the lever for the ‘D’ or the ‘R’ we refuse to demand real change to the way in which our government operates, instead shaking our heads at what is directly in front of our faces.

Do you really believe the following makes any sense?

According to the CIA World Facts Book, the median age in the US is 37.2, which breaks down further to 35.9 years for men and 38.5 years for women.  This is what the US Congress looks like, is it any wonder we are still fighting the same silly azzed battles over our uterus and paychecks.

800px-USpop2010.svg

Most people look forward to retirement, the average age of retirement is 61 in the US though many are working today well into their early 70’s just to make ends meet and make up for heavy losses taken during market crashes.  Statistics say the average American will change jobs 10 – 15 times during their career, some will only spend 4 years in any one job.  So tell me why the average Congressperson seeks tenure, a seat is theirs for life?

Average in the Senate: 10 years

Longest serving member: 39 years

Average Age: 62   *   Oldest Member:  80

Average in Congress: 19 years

Longest serving member:  58 years

Average Age: 57  *  Oldest Member: 90

Then there is the issue we always have to scratch our heads over, why doesn’t Congress look more like the country? I mean really, why doesn’t it look more like where you and I live and work? This is what the country generally looks like:

populationdistribution

I know, somewhat hard to read broken up by all those states, but notice with the exception of a few states distribution of races are pretty even.  So to make it easier, look at these:

race totalpopulation

Does that make it easier to see, we simply do not have a representative government. No way, no how.

Finally we come to what is most puzzling, this constant insistence to pray away every damned thing.  Opening prayers to make certain God is on their side when they take food out of the mouths of the poor, when they give the wealthy another tax break, when they send young men and women to die in another thankless war on a lie.  With the exception of a few, every single last solitary one of these fossilized burdens sucking on the public teat claims some form or another of Christianity, entirely ignoring the rest of their constituents and their Constitutional Rights to live without having their rights trampled by religion every time they draw breath.

RELIGION us

So we are the problem, we allow this continue by not demanding representative government that truly and fully represents the people.  We are the problem, only us not them who are gleefully rubbing their hands together with the money they earn sitting on their collective asses doing nothing, becoming millionaires while talking a good game.  We are the problem when we support this type of government, which is nothing if not corrupt.

Who in their right minds believes any of this makes sense?  When will we demand changes to our government that do?

You must be 25 to serve in the House and 30 to serve in the Senate, there is however no top end no retirement age.  You can just continue to toddle on in there with your drool cup until you drop dead, how about we start considering the consequences?  How about you must retire from elected office at 72, no more running the country sorry folks, leave it those young whippersnappers.

A Congressperson gets two years to screw things up, while a Senator gets six years. Now personally I think we should force a bit of objective thinking into this process, you can’t run for the Senate unless you have served at least one term in the House.  This will weed out some of the real nutcases and move some of the better ones up the chain.  Term limits are critical I think, no more seats for life this is ridiculous; three terms in the House and three terms in the Senate, that is it then it is back to the private sector with you.  If you were really good you can run again for either house of Congress after one Senate term or six years, whichever comes first.

Do we run a risk with this?  We might, but we run far less risk this way than we have today.  What we have today is simply a FUBAR.

Comments

  1. Thanks for the various charts and graphs, Val. Truly, the U.S. Congress isn’t congruent with the makeup of the American populace.

    • It truly isn’t and this is I think part of the reason they are so dysfunctional. When I started really looking at how long some had served and how old some of them were, I was flabbergasted. Service should not be for life.

      • It’s not really a matter of longevity; it’s more what they do with that time in office. Public service is a noble enterprise. The problem is that politics keeps interfering with that philosophy. Most of our elected officials are more concerned with placating a small contingent of affluent individual and corporate donors than serving the overall populace. They’ve let their egos get in the way. Just look at Ted Cruz; he led the government shutdown last fall – forcing millions out of work – merely because he doesn’t like the Affordable Care Act. I don’t like it much either, but shutting down the entire government isn’t a way to deal with it.

        • Well I think we just have to stand up and demand what we want in our government. We should simply be saying enough, enough of the stupid, enough of the extremes. Enough of the idiotic and childish behavior.

          Longevity is part of the problem, when you think it is yours for life you stop doing what is right and start doing whatever you damned well please. It is one of the reasons there were limits placed on the President after FDR.

  2. WordsFallFromMyEyes says:

    I was blown away your average age of retirement is 61. It HAS been 65 in Australia and there’s talk of making it 67. I’d loathe that. It infuriates me.

    Very interesting, this, Val, & reflective. Your posts are always well worth reading because of the facts you pull together. Wish there was someone in Australia who blogged Australian politics the way you do the US. I could get a grip on so much more of it.

    Actually, I know you aren’t meant to talk politics, but I did admit to a guy in the kitchen at work that I donkey-voted but was sorry Abbott had got in. “Well, you voted for him” he said. I said no, I voted for neither – couldn’t bring myself to mark an “ok” against any of the names on that list, but he was insistent that because I didn’t vote against Abbott, I voted FOR him. I hate elections, as I try and do it with integrity, but never know what I’m doing, really.

    • He was right you know, if you didn’t vote against someone you in fact cast a vote for that person. Sometimes the best we can do is cast a vote against something or someone. It often feels wrong to do this, however it is better than the alternative which is to let the worst of two evils win.

  3. You lost me Val with all your Pie charts, but I totally agree with you when you say…..

    “So we are the problem, we allow this continue by not demanding representative government that truly and fully represents the people. We are the problem, only us not them who are gleefully rubbing their hands together with the money they earn sitting on their collective asses doing nothing, becoming millionaires while talking a good game. We are the problem when we support this type of government, which is nothing if not corrupt.”

    I so agree and until we demand Change.. and ARE the change by altering our own greedy ways… then we will get more of the same…

    Great post even though some times I got lost LOL.. but then I know you often get lost in my own thinking LOL :-) hahaha…. But we get the gist.. and I love dropping in over here Val and its good you are doing ok…
    Much love to you, and take care.. Enjoy your weekend.. Hugs Sue xox

    • The charts are my bread and butter, they make so sense for me but I understand they don’t for everyone.

      You understood the main issues. You are right Sue, it is an issue of we, us the people of any nation demanding representation.

  4. Term limits now ! Great post!

  5. Excellent post, Val! You make us realize we all have a part in this government even if it is just to vote and make our voices heard! Keep up the good work!

    • We do have a part, I just wish we (that is all of us from the moment we hit 18) realized just how much power we truly have. It is shameful each time we give our power away. Everytime I hear someone say they don’t vote I want to throttle them, truly just beat the living daylights right out of them.

  6. I love it when you address these kinds of issues, Val. And I’m with Kim, voting for you!

    Seriously, I’m relieved to out of the US for now. Makes me feel saner. It must be nuts living in Texas, especially!

    Hugs from Ecuador,
    Kathy

  7. No question – we get what we deserve. Mandating voting would not increase the knowledge of voters, possibly increasing the ignorance.

    I trust your stats, but percentages can be deceiving in this case. The population is such a large number, yet the numbers in House and Senate and significantly smaller – thus percentages aren’t a good measure. Then again, I’m not sure what would be a good measure. Besides, a representative government is based on strict numbers …. not subsets.

    Regarding term limits, I keep bouncing back and forth between the idea. The Constitution had no limits …. but then someone decided to term limit the presidency, but not Congress. The Founding Fathers originally had that senators were not elected, but appointed … but appointment fights at the state level screwed that up, too!

    • I suppose I could have provided the links to my larger spreadsheets to show the complete numbers, when you look at the states and their representation it is appalling actually. Consider how many House Members California or Texas has for example, how large the ‘minority’ population is yet the representation from those states does not reflect the population of the state itself. Hawaii is another great example, predominantly population is not White, yet there is only a 50% representation of the indigenous people.

      As to term limits, since 1990 there has been a grassroots movement to get these passed, even to the point of a proposal being brought to the House floor for a vote, it failed by only a small amount (227-204, not reaching the 2/3 majority necessary). Further to this, in the original Articles of Confederation (prior to the Constitution), term rotation was featured and Thomas Jefferson was a proponent of limiting power.

      I guess I will have to take up the issue of term limitations, the history both far past and current.

      • Term limit history would be a good topic to research!

        Representation depends on ones’s definition. Constitutionally, representation means that the states are represented .. thus the intent was never to mean representation of various groups of people based on ethnicity, age, religion, gender, or any other category.

        On a similar note, I recently heard an interview about women in politics and in corporate leadership. One of the stats they used were that because women outnumber men, they need to vote more women into positions. Therefore, in relationship to this post, the re-election of incumbents is obviously the fault of women. ;)

  8. –I’m voting for you, Sistah, in 2016!! xxx

  9. Hi, Val – Ah, politics. I typically don’t like talking about it. But I understand your points. :) It’s tough to motivate the younger generations when they graduate from college with high debt, then make a smaller wage than they think… Although…since it’s a millionaire’s club in Washington, maybe that would be a good incentive for them to shoot for offices? I think President Obama and the First Lady have done the best they can – meaning, with their intentions. None of us have seen the (what I like to call) “OH S**T” book/meeting that a President gets when they get elected. (IMHO) Have a great week!

    • One of many things that must change, access to education including higher education. I agree, the POTUS has done what is possible given the current climate in Washington. I don’t always agree with POTUS, but then I don’t know if we can always agree with anyone in office, especially that office. What we can do, is demand all our elected officials act ethically and in the best interest of this nation and its people.

  10. Amen. You’ve said it all, Valentine. Should be rep by pop but that’s gone by the wayside.

  11. What a brilliant post Val… must have taken you ages to collate and lay out all that important information, those facts and figures that shout so loudly. NO use me re-blogging it in NZ, but I do hope lots of Americans re-blog it, and send it to the people who might be able to change things…anyway, congratulations on a brilliant piece of work

    • I have had the killer cold of the season (get one each year) and so this is how I spent my time. I admit to being a nerd, love research (I admit it). I believe I missed my true calling.

      Thanks Valerie, I truly do believe democracy grows stale and we the people (of any nation) are the only ones capable of reviving it. We are the only ones capable of demanding it be truly representative of us, the people. The only way this ever happens is if we, the people rise up and demand the change necessary.

  12. Val, did you know that now millionaires make the majority of Congress? (http://money.cnn.com/2014/01/09/news/economy/congress-millionaires/) This bit of would make a good addition to your post – not that it was not already well-researched as it is.
    I agree that politicians should not get too comfortable in their seats, but instead of limiting the number of terms they can serve, I would suggest allowing unlimited number of terms, but not consecutive.

    • I know X, this is certainly another aspect of ‘non-representative’ government. I considered adding it to this piece but in the end, it simply got to long. One of the research bits I had up on our millionaire congress was who they were invested in, loved that one and am considering following their investment advice!

      I think I said in my closing statement, they can run again don’t mind unlimited terms but there must be time between and it must be specific (six years or one Senate term whichever comes first).

      • I think the fact that most of these people have no idea what poverty is – or even what being in the middle class is like. I wish could require our elected representative to spend a certain amount of time in the groups they claim to represent: live a year on unemployment and food stamps, spend a few months as a member of racial minority, do a tour in Iraq.

  13. There is a serious disparity between the race of the people in Congress and the Senate, and the rest of the country. Our government needs to catch up, which means we need more people of color to run for office. You are so right, Val, we are disengaged. We are the problem. But, how do we encourage today’s youth to take charge of their futures?

    • I think part of the answer is by getting money out of politics so more people can run and can engage. I think term limits is also part of the answer. We need to see people want to be part of the solution.

  14. I guess that about sums up any Western Society. However demographics in the world are changing at a fairly fast clip now. The issue you raise could be a focus on representation in the UN too between those in the club and those outside the club. But the world is a complicated place isn’t it? If we give everyone equal voice then those who want the government to support them will eventually tax those who have the gift of creating wealth to the point where there’s no incentive to even try to generate wealth. Then the government steps in desperately and makes everyone work, takes all their money and provides services. A similar situation to Communism isn’t it? So capitalism sucks and the ones who offer their services to govern are “assclowns” as you have so skilfully articulated but I hesitate to vote for the alternative to capitalism as we get at least some level of prosperity in spite of the donkeys in charge and we do have the freedom to gripe about those we put in because there is no one else on the horizon willing to do the hard yards even for rip off salaries and perks that go along with politics.

    • This however is not a suggestion that we throw the baby out with the bathwater Ian. This is a suggestion that government should represent the people they govern. We are not a nation of old white men, we are however governed by old white men. These old white men would see women without access to safe birth control through their insurance carriers, they would see women without access to safe abortion, they would see children without food, they would see families without a living wage, they have stripped education funding, they have stripped higher education funding so people can join the work force. While they were doing all this, they added new tax breaks for the very wealthy and created even greater poverty for those already struggling just to make ends meet.

      No Ian, this isn’t about redistribution of wealth, this is about representative government. This doesn’t suggest Capitalism sucks, it suggests a government that doesn’t represent the nation sucks.

  15. My, my, what big graphs you have ;) You might want to throw one of those pie graph right in the face of a slow moving senator …just saying.

  16. Of course with me, you’re preaching to the choir, but this information must be shouted out again and again. We need to pay attention to who it is behind that ballot.

    Wee
    Ll done here, Val.

  17. The gender and race under-representation is really brought home by your pie-charts and graphs. America is becoming more and more diverse everyday, so one hopes we’ll start to see this reflected in Congress. Unfortunately, I’m not overly optimistic it will happen anytime soon.

    • I think that is the point, it is us that has to demand change. We that must at a grassroots begin to demand changes to how our government functions. We that must begin to move toward more and better representation. Government doesn’t function on “hope”. This government won’t change until we demand it.

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