Actions in Washington disillusion Americans

Published 10:05 am Wednesday, May 26, 2010

I wonder. Are you tired of the news media interpreting the news for you with their own personal political view? Followed by the rebuttal from the opposing political view? Are you tired of political analyst programs where two or three, sometimes more, people are all attempting to out-talk one another so you can’t hear the message of any of them? When a question is asked of one of the participants he or she is interrupted before they are able to answer the question? Once upon a time that kind of action was called “rude.”

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could read or listen to an objective reporting of what has transpired in the state Legislature or in Washington, D.C.? An actual report of what has really happened? Then we the people could decide if we agreed or disagreed with whatever that issue might be.

We wonder why so many intelligent Americans are turned off by politics today. Could it be we are just saturated with the innuendoes, political barbs, political so-called cartoons and millions of dollars spent on TV ads? Where does it stop? Could it be that we elect people based on promises, charismatic personalities who we really believe are going to make a difference, only to find, time after time, once they are elected they become part of the system. And once again we are disillusioned.

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I wonder, how did we get to the place where Congress votes their own raises in pay? Why do we limit the president to two terms but senators and congressmen can stick around forever? Why do we pay for lawmakers’ high-priced insurance premiums when they are only part-time employees? Why do we pay lawmakers their full salary after serving just one term, or at retirement? What a deal. Some retirement plan!

Why does not Congress pay into Social Security? Maybe if they had to participate, they would find a way to make it solvent. We are a very compassionate country, but should we be paying aid to illegal aliens? Is it impossible to secure our borders? We heard much about that while President Obama was campaigning for election. Have you heard anything about that recently? Why are babies born to illegal aliens automatically U.S. citizens?

Do you remember the bank bailouts? How did that work for you? What about the fraud and misuse of funds in AIG and no one is going to be punished? Or Bernard Madoff, remember him? Even though he stole billions of dollars, which will not be repaid to the people he stole from, but his wife and family are able to retain millions of dollars? Does anyone remember who appointed the liberal judges who have allowed our laws to be compromised to the point of being ineffective?

Remember hearing about “grass-roots” government? The idea was if we kept government closer to the people, we would pay for the projects we deemed necessary. We would know how and where our taxes were being spent. Have you heard that township governments are the most efficient branch of government? It is because we know our elected officials, and we can talk to them about an issue. If their decisions are not popular, they will be voted out the next election.

Yes, we can follow our lawmakers in St. Paul and Washington, D.C. If you can get through all the legal rhetoric; if you have the time, it is possible. We should attempt to be educated on what they are doing. It’s not easy. We elect them expecting them to do the jobs they promised and were elected to do. We want to go back to our busy, hectic lives, our families, our jobs, etc. We expect those we elected to govern not to begin perpetuating their next election.

Recently there was a Paths to Peace column headlined “Does the Tea Party want to be a party of hate?” As an on-looker, I think the Tea Party is a group of people completely disenchanted with what they see happening to our government. I think it includes people of conservative and independent voting history. Kathleen Parker in her recent column called them, “Centrists — who may be broadly defined as fiscally conservative, socially libertarian-ish (and) — have been relatively quiet as ‘patriots,’”

I believe the popularity of Sarah Palin is that she speaks plainly, she relates to simple people and is a breath of fresh air compared with the Washington, D.C., set-in-stone-congressmen who are completely out of touch with constituents and who have become part of a system which is so well entrenched we do not know how to begin to change it. But, change it we must.

This will not be easy. I have had many conversations with people who want nothing to do with what they call “politics.” They say it as a dirty word. That is exactly why we find our selves with our present-day government. People did not want to get involved and did not pay attention to these very gradual, subtle changes. To quote Edmund Burke, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

Despite all the problems, there is yet a part of me, an idealistic part of me, that says we can be the government the framers of our constitution intended.

What are your questions? What and where are the answers? Be informed. The Internet makes it very possible to get information, voting records, legislative updates, etc. Listen. Ask questions. Be informed before you vote. Try to get both sides of the issues and make your own decisions. Know your candidates. Attend candidate forums. Candidates welcome meeting you and answering your questions. Keep candidates accountable. Write letters, make phone calls. Let’s make our government one we can be proud to leave to our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. This is our government.

We the people!

Maureen Ruble is a member of the Freeborn County Republican Party.