Who knew? I certainly didn’t know my posts here would be like this, since politics is not what I came here to blog about. Politics certainly doesn’t match what I have sitting in my drafts folder. But politics keeps intruding on my thougts, so… Maybe I’ll get to use that draft next… On to the current point!
Long ago, and far away, in a world that used to be ours, there were men and women of good intent who took the following oath before taking up their weighty tasks:
I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.
Following this Oath, the lawmakers of our country set out to represent the interests of their nation, their state, and the people of their constituencies. Perhaps the revisions to this oath made following the Civil War still confuse modern lawmakers.
I keep searching the U.S. Constitution for a place where it says that businesses, commerce, and corporate entities take precedent over the rights of individuals. I can’t find any amendments that say that our elected representatives are authorized to
- fabricate lies,
- avoid fact checking,
- develop selective amnesia over briefings that do not support their positions, or
- place corporate profit motive above the health and safety of their constituencies.
These behaviours are rapidly becoming the norm in all of our representatives. The exigencies of running a nation of 300 million place each of these people under stress. Pressure from their political parties to ensure that they are re-elected to maintain the party’s “Power” and influence in government are sufficient to keep people toeing the party line, instead of doing what they believe is right for their constituents.
The need to maintain their viability as a political force makes them all the more susceptible to the influence of corporate entities with deep pockets. Re-election becomes the Sangreal, the Holy Grail of politicians. Congresspeople are advised to begin shaping their re-election campaigns as they walk in the door as freshmen.
Perhaps we should discuss term limits… single terms for any Senator or Congressperson, so that the subject of being re-elected is no longer in the mix. It would certainly reduce the influence of money in the equation, although it will always be there. But at the same time, each party would then have to maintain a laser like focus on keeping the individual members of the constituencies happy, instead of just the ones with lots of disposable income.
Think about it. Next time a major reform is put in place to eliminate corporate greed and power, say, Health Care Reform, or Mitigating Climate Change… perhaps the elected representatives would listen to the people they represent, instead of those who stand gain the most profit.
Perhaps President Eisenhower had it right in the original version of his speech, it is the “Military-Industrial-Congressional” complex, before they advised him to strike the “Congressional” part.
A vital element in keeping the peace is our military establishment. Our arms must be mighty, ready for instant action, so that no potential aggressor may be tempted to risk his own destruction…
This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence — economic, political, even spiritual — is felt in every city, every statehouse, every office of the federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society. In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes.We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals so that security and liberty may prosper together. (Emphasis is all mine!)
It is time for us to shoulder our responsibility and become informed, and vote based upon our beliefs. Perhaps it’s time for some political housekeeping, some serious political reform, such as term limits.
What I am certain of is that our Senators and Representatives seem to have forgotten that they are elected to represent OUR interests, not the other way around. Think about it.