Sunday, September 26, 2010

Inside Outsider

With every election cycle, comes the inevitable boasting and bluster that is partisan politics. Republicans claim Democrats are running the country into the ground with their rampant spending, even as they are attempting ridiculous and fiscally unsupported tax cuts. Democrats complain Republicans are busy saying no to everything, even as they are constantly waging war against the Republican Party rather than working with them. At the end of the day, neither party comports themselves well in the arena of governing responsibly. Both parties are more interested in scoring political points than in settling down and doing the hard task of running a large country.

So it is, that when mid-term elections roll around, so many candidates for office attempt to challenge the incumbents with the claims of being Washington, D.C. "outsiders," people not immersed in the rough-and-tumble of the nation's capitol. Sadly, these candidates inevitably become beholden to the national party organizations for funding, and the "outsider" tag is quickly stripped away as they fall in line behind their party, lest they lose the support they so desperately need to run for office. Once they take cash from the national party organizations, any air of independence is completely fouled with the stench of partisanship. Should they actually win and find themselves in Congress, they then quickly find out that they are expected to toe the party line, lest the goodies of Congressional membership be withheld.

Politics is no longer the realm of the people, but the realm of the party, and the parties in this country are beholden to special interest groups and corporations, who dole out huge amounts of money to elect candidates that will do their bidding. Members of Congress may harrumph and harangue, claiming they are not the puppets of others, but their election coffers are the surest sign that they have been bought and sold by those who would stack the legislative deck in their favor.

Even the nascent Tea Party is simply an offshoot of the Republican Party, a more vocal, more rambunctious, more morally conflicted version of its older sibling. Built upon the anger of fringe conservatives, wishing to rein in American society by clamping down on those things that are at the root of freedom and liberty in this country, it is no better or worse than the established parties. It, too, is rife with greed, corruption, ignorance, bigotry, and political payback. It represents an opportunity for Republican players and retainers to get around the party establishment, riding those conservative sycophants who are willing to avoid applying critical reasoning to their choice of candidates.

For American government to function at any level, it starts with the people, deciding that they will no longer be held hostage by small numbers of people deciding to determine their destiny. It is far too easy for any group to decide that they know what is best for all Americans, but as has been said many times, the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, no matter how many that few should be. Personal conviction, religious faith, and political precedent should not rule; they should be factored in to what is required to provide for the general welfare of everyone in this country. The diversity of this nation means that all views must be considered, and compromise must be the order of the day. Eventually, though some may grumble, consensus must lead to rules and laws that all can live under without fear of coercion or corruption.

If we truly wish to live by the spirit of the framers of the Constitution, and do justice to the sacrifice of those who forged a nation, then we owe it to them to throw off the shackles of organized politics, and reassert control of our nation, a nation of, by, and for the American citizenry. Until we decide to sweep away the detritus that has piled up in the corners of our Congress, we risk watching our freedom being further eroded by forces that would rather preserve their power than preserve our liberty.

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