Monday, October 18, 2010

A Real Pledge To America

The Republican Party revealed its “Pledge To America” to great fanfare, as if to say: “We've heard you, and here's what we're going to do.” Sadly, what they intend to do if the regain control of Congress, is to do more of the same that got them ousted four years ago, and which imperiled the country by allowing the recent economic collapse of two years ago. Having learned little from their most recent stint on the bench, their pledge is little more than window-dressing for a return to “trickle-down economics,” unsupported tax cuts, and the savaging of social programs and departments necessary to keep Americans safe. In addition, there will be the requisite attempts to undo the new health care law and find a way to outlaw abortion.

Somewhere in this mass of iniquity, there is a sincere desire to help America, though its execution leaves much to be desired. The problem comes, much as it does from the Democratic Party, in an adherence to the party line and an inflexibility born of partisanship. If every political issue is made into a two-sided debate, with neither side willing to compromise, and more importantly, no consideration of the needs of American citizens, then it can be said that our representative system of government no longer works as intended. George Washington, in his farewell speech to America at the end of his last term, counseled as much, warning of the dependency on political parties over sound individual judgment.

If the system is broken, then it the American citizen who bears the brunt of the blame. A willingness to turn over political affairs to party politicians and to have individual will subverted by political machines is the mark of an electorate that has forgotten its primary responsibility, the election of fair and competent representatives. The old saw is that “freedom is not free,” and the price we pay for our freedom is the requirement that we, the citizenry, remain engaged in the political process continually, not just when we fancy it. It starts at the local level, and works its way up to the national government; in every place where representation is chosen by the electorate, the electorate must be aware of who and what it is voting for.

The sad fact is that many have given up, and do not vote, because they are convinced that their vote does not count, or makes no difference in the outcome. They have been lulled to sleep by the Pied Piper, who spirits them away, to be ignorant of the machinations of others who intend to capitalize on and take advantage of the ignorance and apathy of the citizenry. Politics is now the playground of corporations and special interest groups, bent on manipulating the situation to their advantage, and keeping legislators in their pocket, to use when their interests are threatened. An ignorant nation and a disinterested electorate are the vital tools of the political usurpers and corporate vipers who seek to run our nation to benefit themselves.

If the Republicans (and the Democrats, for that matter) want to make a pledge to the nation, perhaps it ought to go something like this:

  • We pledge to desist in our efforts to make every issue a partisan one.
  • We will do what is in the best interests of the nation as a whole, not just what will make the base in our district happy.
  • We will stop abusing our power and privilege as legislators, since we are, after all, no more than American citizens, like the rest of our countrymen.
  • We will make our campaigns completely transparent, and will accept money only from individual American citizens, not from corporations or special interest groups
  • We will address the long-term issues that plague our nation: poverty, disease, poor education, war, and joblessness, and will do so in a positive and pro-social fashion.
  • We will endeavor to find a way to ensure that citizens who work toward the betterment and protection of the citizenry (military personnel, doctors, teachers, firefighters, policemen, et. al.) receive just and fair compensation for their sacrifices, and limit their taxation to encourage more citizens to enter these professions.
  • We will limit our time in positions of representation, to enable younger and fresher minds to have a chance at affecting and improving the political process.
  • We will provide all Americans with the best possible services, to enable them to go about their daily lives without the specter of loss dogging them.
  • We will do our utmost to regulate the financial industry in such a way as to not stifle legitimate business interests, while at the same time punishing those who put profit before people.

Now that would be a pledge worth getting behind.

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