A Must Read!

The following is a Guest Editorial that was recently published in our local newspaper. I found myself agreeing with this writer again and again … and I tend to think many of my readers will do the same.

For your reading pleasure …

“A pox on all their houses!”
“Toss the Bums out!”
I have heard this refrain for as long as I can remember. And I am old.

It is an understandable sentiment. People believe that they voted for someone who was going to represent them, drain the swamp, listen to the voices of the citizenry, bring change. But little if any of that happened. Now election time is coming again and the new crop of candidates is making all those promises again, and again we hear a chorus of “Toss the bums out!”

There are some bums in the mix, to be sure. A few names jump immediately to mind. But it is likely that the problem isn’t just bums. The problem is a system that rewards bumlike behavior and punishes honesty.

To run for office, national office in particular, one must be a full-time candidate for months ahead of the election. No one who works for a living can do that, so the candidates of late are all rather fabulously rich. Joe Biden was the least wealthy of all major presidential candidates in 2020 and he is a multi-millionaire. That means that we rarely elect people who have lived our lives. They are unlikely to have ever made a list of past due dates for bills so they could, hopefully, pay them just in time to avoid late fees. They just don’t get it. Pretty much none of them.

And the cost of elections and the length of campaigns just keeps growing. That is not only because it takes time to get a name out there. It is also because of the obscene cost of running a campaign. The result of that cost is the need to spend a lot of time fundraising. That, in turn, means that candidates are wooing big donors, i.e. those special interests we love to hate. Unions, the gun lobby, big pharma, big oil, not to mention the necessary wad of cash from one of the major parties. Time spent with those mega donors means that your donation of $5, $100 or $1,000 has no influence attached.

It also means that if elected, we will all doubt if decisions by the new office holder to support or oppose something come out of conviction or out of financial self interest. All this is, of course, made worse by perfectly legal dark money. (Thank you, Citizens United.) We too often have no idea from where millions of dollars in donations originate, so we don’t even know to whom a candidate may be beholding.

Now, let’s say a candidate survives all this and is elected to national office. They will be a part of a  Constitutional system created nearly 250 years ago in a series of compromises. Those compromises were probably necessary at the time if this nation was going to survive at all, but many of them now only serve to give a minority of voters outsize influence on elected officials. The electoral college, created to appease slave states; the Senate, created to appease rural states; the House, created to appease urban states; the filibuster, just a senate rule, not a law, all serve a system in which the majority of American citizens cannot, regardless of whom they elect, get the change they desire. Even in presidential elections, the popular vote has failed to select a winner five times in our history! A minority of officials representing a minority of voters can prevent any change from taking place.

So, the bum you elected may try to do the things they promised, but they will too often be stopped by a system that is very hard to change unless those elected through it, and whose continued power depends on maintaining it, want that change to occur. That bum-encouraging system will be changed only if We the People make enough noise about it. In the meantime, noticing the efforts to do the right thing by those we elect is important, whether it succeeds or not. Blaming a single person for failing to succeed against a 250 year old system supported by the wealth and interests of those in power and with an inside influence track is shortsighted and unfair. Be careful which bums you vote to throw out. Some may be on the side of the angels.

*************************
The newspaper provided the following credit for the article:

[Name withheld]  is a retired Joseph Lane Middle School teacher. Currently living in Portland, she and her husband raised their three children in Roseburg.

10 thoughts on “A Must Read!

  1. I think it has more to do with an outlaw Congress that passes laws for the highest bidders and place Corporate interests not only above everyone else’s and to the disadvantage of others, but allows them to distant what laws and regulations use be passed and THEN allows members of those same corporate interests to run the agencies that overlook their industries. In this criminal endeavor BOTH parties are evenly culpable; let Big Pharma & Agra run the FDA, great idea. The oil, petrochemical industries run the EPA, the country’s biggest banks to run the Treasury, of course this makes perfect sense! How about letting a cabal of corporate interests – ALEC – actually draft legislation that goes right on to the floor or Congress AS IS! Wow, what a great idea.

    In this way our country has been hijacked, a “silent coup” as it were.

    Liked by 6 people

  2. I don’t see how it will ever change. Corruption and greed are a way of life with our system and other political systems as well. Sometimes I think it’s the big huge mega companies that run the world and call all the shots. We are the meaningless peasants. Only a revolution of the people can cause a change and with a divided country like ours and half on the side of the republicans and trump, I don’t hold out much hope.
    PS..I don’t think Pete Buttigieg is a multi millionaire, but I could be wrong.

    Liked by 5 people

  3. I came to the AUSA as an immigrant in 1969. Iwas not fleeing anything just a corporate relocation. I have participated as a citizen as best I could, but this country is on the verge of death.
    What we need now is a remarkable leader who does not have a finger in the cash register.
    An excellent post! We need campaign finance reform and a return to the original purpose of our war of independence.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. Why, the challenges listed are the same even here. Campaign for office is a full time engagement. The money required is crazy and nobody knows the sources then there are flawed electoral systems that make it possible for rigging to take place and all. At the end of the day, they are representatives of the people in name only and nothing more.
    What can be done? I don’t know.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. …the problem isn’t just bums. The problem is a system that rewards bumlike behavior and punishes honesty. […]

    …the House, created to appease urban states; the filibuster, just a senate rule, not a law, all serve a system in which the majority of American citizens cannot, regardless of whom they elect, get the change they desire. […]

    A minority of officials representing a minority of voters can prevent any change from taking place.

    BINGO! BULLSEYE! YAHTZEE! 🎫🎯🎲🎲

    These serious flaws and problems with our federal system—and state legislatures and campaign financing that mimic DC—are indeed shackled and very antiquated. This is undeniable and has been the de-evolution of our federal and state legislatures increasingly CONTROLLED by small states (primarily in the Senate) and its well-known minority party (R). The traces of this slow shift go back as far as at least Ronald Reagan, perhaps even Richard Nixon. The proverbial nail in our democratic Republic coffin was hammered and sealed with the 2010 SCOTUS landmark decision in Citizens United vs FEC. Since then, billions upon billions of campaign dollars have literally POURED its corrupting oligarchic toxicity into every aspect of our trilateral form of government. And no surprise, what percentage of America’s economic demographic make-up the gaudy, opulent, and powerful? Yep, the upper 10% to 1%. That in NO WAY represents a democratic Republic and its majority citizens.

    So, what has to be done to return to a TRUE Constitutional democratic Republic for the 21st century instead of the late 18th century? This very bright middle school teacher almost had her Yahtzee again:

    [This] bum-encouraging system will be changed only if We the People make enough noise about it.

    Over 10,000 amendments to our antiquated, flawed, and grid-locked Constitution have been proposed in Congress. Only 33 Amendments have ever gained enough votes to be submitted to the 50 States for ratification and just 27 Amendments have ever been ratified. That is NOT a flexible, evolving set of Laws and Articles to GROW with an ever changing nation with changing needs for its people! Why? Because our Founding Fathers, particularly the six (6) Core Founding Fathers, had no choice but to GREATLY COMPROMISE for the Confederation of 13 States to survive as a Union. Who and what States demanded (ironically) equal and fair representation and voice? Why the slave states of the South, of course! HAH! EQUALITY!? BWAAAA! Ain’t that the epitome of INFLEXIBLE double-standards? Pfffft! 🙄🤦‍♂️

    If we are to change our horribly outdated federal and state systems for the 21st century, we MUST do this one of the four ways to amend the Constitution and STOP this gradual takeover of our fledgling democracy by an Oligarchy; WEALTHY Oligarchs at that! How? The old traditional three methods rarely work, if at all. No, it must be Method #4. From the Washington Post with my italics: *

    “There are actually four ways.

    (1) Both houses propose an amendment with a two-thirds vote, and three-fourths of the state legislatures approve. Twenty-six of the 27 amendments were approved in this manner.” This method is too old, too traditional. Or…

    (2) “Both houses propose an amendment with a two-thirds vote, and three-fourths of the states approve the amendment via ratifying conventions. Only the 21st Amendment, which repealed Prohibition, was passed in this manner.” This will never happen today due to minority-powers in both Chambers, party-line politics, and filibusters.

    (3) “Two-thirds of the state legislatures call on Congress to hold a constitutional convention, and three-fourths of the state legislatures approve the amendment.” NOW we are getting somewhere and critical decisions made for our 21st century nation! And…

    (4) “Two-thirds of the state legislatures call on Congress to hold a constitutional convention, and three-fourths of the states approve the amendment via ratifying conventions.” YES!

    Because of what this Portland, OR teacher stated correctly, of making enough noise thru a People’s National Constitutional Convention—i.e. the Popular voters who’ve actually voted-for the most popular candidates—can will this to happen. Once Method #3 is accomplished, our oligarchic Congress cannot do a damn thing about it, not even Sen. Mitch McConnell (R)!

    ——————

    * – Source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/there-are-four-not-two-ways-to-amend-the-constitution/2016/08/18/058afcf2-6420-11e6-b4d8-33e931b5a26d_story.html

    Liked by 1 person

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