I have come to believe that those things that we simply cannot accept, should… must move us to action. Right now that action is expressed, in part, through my writing. I am doing everything in my power to be an informed citizen of these United States of America. The trouble is, the more I find out, the more frustrated I become with the incessant and rampant corruption I see within our current system of government.
I have recently viewed some movies, and read a book that deal with the corruption that exists in “pay for play politics.” Now that exorbitant greed has established a prominent place in our halls of government. I am longing more and more for the end of this cold, cruel world, and the establishment of the one promised with Christ’s return (Isaiah 9:4). Alas, that day has yet to come. So as long as I am here, I am going to comment on the ways that we can make our representative system of government truly represent US – “We the people..” I hope by doing so, I am able to provide the citizenry the opportunity to make informed decisions and be more involved in the process. Whatever your view of the state of our nation, my hope is that you become more active in helping to improve those things that work well, and fix those things which do not.
Two movies I have recently viewed – Casino Jack and the United States of Money, and Inside Job – as well as I book I just read – The Two Income Trap: Why Middle Class Mothers and Fathers are Going Broke – have helped me to see that when money is used to buy influence, we end up some strange policy decisions occurring in Washington, DC. I have also seen that as much as we would like to vilify or idolize our elected officials, that are no different than you or I. They are just as apt to be enticed to direct public policy to the benefit of those lining their pockets as the bouncer who takes a $20 bill to let you enter the club and forgo having to wait in line on a crowded night. They are no different from the maitre d’ who accepts your c-note for scoring you a prime table in your favorite upscale restaurant. They are simply selling their influence, often to the highest bidder.
The problem, and what makes this different than the other two examples is that WE elect these people into positions of governmental authority and power to represent OUR interests. They are not supposed to accept financial contributions and act at the behest of those with the deepest pockets instead of representing their constituency. I’m not naive enough to believe that our representatives get elected to congress,the senate, or the presidency without adequate financing. Individuals and groups are allowed to mobilize and stump for the candidate of their choice. Running for elected office in the day and age in which we live requires a significant amount of financial leverage.
When, however, these same candidates allow the water to be muddled by campaign contributions and other special benefits, as opposed to principle and serving the best interests of their constituency, the process and the system becomes corrupt. That is why there is such a great and pressing need for more regulation and greater campaign finance reform. If the events that preceded the current recession and the near economic collapse have taught us nothing else, it should be that the deregulation ushered in at the beginning of the Reagan era has taken a terrible toll on our financial systems as well as our system of government. Allowing those in the financial sector to “self-regulate” has certainly proven that when left to their own devices and greed, those with power and influence will overwhelmingly seek to gain greater power, influence, and money. When greed is allowed to go unchecked, it becomes an uncontrollable beast. We cannot afford further deregulation when financial institutions are in so few hands. Allowing the large banking institutions to determine public policy with regards to finance is akin to leaving the barn door open. The horses are long gone.
There are some public officials who will try to convince you that adding more regulation to industry only causes further stagnation of our stalled economy. So what?!!!! We have to realize that sometimes doing what’s best isn’t always the easiest or most expedient solution. Should the EPA be downsized at at time when the natural gas industry has done irreparable damage to many watersheds with hydraulic fracturing? Should oil companies be given the green light to drill offshore just a few short years after the worst oil spill in US history? Should financial institutions be allowed to “self-regulate” in the wake of the taxpayer-funded bailout of companies that were “too big to fail?”
In our effort to alleviate the pain of rampant foreclosures, excessive unemployment, and mounting consumer debt, let’s make sure we don’t look for the quick fix to problems that took decades to develop – even if we are just now dealing with the fallout.
Isn’t this the real problem?