Washington is looking more and more like the bloated, rotted corpse that was ancient Rome. You may think that is going a bit too far, but frankly, I don’t think it is. After all, Rome, which as we all know, was not built in a day, didn’t die in one either. It took decades and indeed centuries for the final nail to be pounded into a barely breathing empire.
No doubt some will say, that there are always naysayers and doomsday predictors throughout every era. Much like the perennial apocalyptic “the sky is falling” proponents, who surface at almost every moment in history, the claim is that “this too shall pass.” Things do indeed look worse up close and personal.
Perhaps, but I don’t think so. I think we are sliding down that ever slippery slope into the era of the reliving of past glories. Just ask the British, they probably never saw it coming either, nor I dare say, did the Romans. We’ve been through rough times before, and we survive. Yes, indeed we have, but it seems that what is going so very wrong in America these days has a cause–its an utterly dysfunctional government subject to archaic rules and laws that no longer make sense in the strange new global world in which we find ourselves.
My DD had a fine article on this today, and one that I urge you to read. Most all of us have in recent years commented on the almost ground to a halt condition of our congress. Many things are undoubtedly to blame but I seem to see a couple big causes.
One is when we declared (for perfectly good reasons at the time) that corporations had some near human status in our legal world. This of course made it subject to being sued in tort actions and indeed occasionally in criminal matters. But it set the tone and allowed them to claim for themselves other “citizen” rights. Mostly, it gave them the right to “freedom of speech” and with that the right to support candidates both verbally and financially. Little did we realize that soon, all our politicians would be owned by these increasingly large behemoths.
We did not foresee the growth of mega corporations, and certainly didn’t envision their global reach. Now their interests are often at odds with purely American interests, and they expect that their bought and paid for politicians will legislate in a manner than protects their interests even when the public is ill served by their actions.
We all know we need serious overhauling of the health care system, yet we are going to get a bizarre mishmash of directives that actually don’t do much of that, and don’t serve the public, but do protect the industries involved for the most part with a few “crumbs” to the masses.
We seem powerless to stop this, or change it. We have this odd, and I would suggest, irrational belief that our Constitution, so perfect for so many decades, is capable of coping with the new world it finds itself in. Between the mega corporation and it’s puppeteering, we have the “special interest” lobby groups who have infiltrated the Beltway, their pockets stuffed with money and their demands backed up by a loyal mass of “followers” who claim they will vote their interest in large blocks against anyone who attempts to stand in the way of their legislative favorite. It is no accident that Joe Lieberman is now referred to as “Mr. Aetna” for his irrational and contradictory opposition to the public option and opening up of medicare. He is simply owned by insurance interests.
I cannot see a solution to this dilemma through elections. We would have to utterly replace every senator and house member for the most part, and all would have to be dedicated to an total overhaul of the rules of both houses that now seemingly bog down everything in endless debate, vote, cloture moves, threats of filibuster, and on and on. All of this is aimed at one thing only, and that is–effectively blocking anything meaningful coming from any quarter.
Better to consider a constitutional convention to look at how our legislative process needs be changed in this modern world. And, without doubt, no senator or house member should be allowed to participate. No one on the payroll of any corporation or special interest should be allowed to be a delegate either. Yes, yes, I realize that there will be cries of “unfair” from nearly every corner of America.
But clearly, no sane person can argue that the Founding Fathers, whom we tend to lionize as gods of some sort, ever envisioned the world we inhabit today. Not even close. They could not, as we cannot possibly imagine the world of even a hundred years from now. Until we let go of our maudlin nostalgic clinging to words written on parchment long ago, we will continue to flounder in this growing cesspool of greed, power, money, and sex that has become our national “shrine.”
I’ve had enough, but then I said that twenty years ago, and nobody was listening then. The chorus who join me in decrying this abysmal situation no doubt has been doing the same for twenty years. The big question is: Will we ever get beyond the rhetoric to truly address this or not.
If we choose to continue lamenting with no real effort to initiate reform, then the future looks bleak indeed. We have befouled our planet, and turned our government operation into a rusty, smelly, barely to be tolerated joke. And given our lackluster and ineffectual promotion of “good” education, it’s doubtful most of our kids will be able to speak the Chinese that will soon be required to live in America.