Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The People We Elect, Redux

It is not enough for an elected member of Congress to represent their particular district, no matter how convoluted its lines are drawn. Those who stand on Capitol Hill, do so to represent not just their state, but the nation as a whole. Each takes an oath, similar to that which the President takes, and it is such that a Congressman is bound to their duty to "bear true faith and allegiance" to the Constitution of the United States. The Constitution is the guidebook to how the business of the nation shall be conducted, and the Preamble makes it quite clear what the duties of the Federal government are.

So, it is quite disheartening, when a major legislative figure in Congress makes a statement which so completely contravenes the spirit and the word of the Constitution, to wit, the protection of the "general welfare." That nondescript, two-word phrase, encompasses the highest order of the land, for it enjoins Congress to see to the needs of the nation and its citizens at all times and in all places, and that no American need suffer where the Federal government can render aid and comfort.

So, stepping into the breach and showing how the modern politician has little regard for the oath that binds him to his duty, I give you Eric Cantor, Representative of Maryland, and the House Majority Leader, a title which does not appear anywhere in the Constitution and is solely an artifact of the entrenchment of the two main political parties. Given the recent devastation of Joplin, Missouri by tornadoes, Mr. Cantor (I refuse to call him by his title, because I consider him no longer fit to represent anyone) had this to say on the subject of spending Federal money on relief for the citizens of Joplin:

"When a family is struck with tragedy — like the family of Joplin … let’s say if they had $10,000 set aside to do something else with, to buy a new car … and then they were struck with a sick member of the family or something, and needed to take that money to apply it to that, that’s what they would do, because families don’t have unlimited money. And, really, neither does the federal government."

In essence, the only way that those suffering the devastation of their homes and livelihoods there, is if Congress finds a way to slash more money from the Federal budget, instead of doing what it is supposed to, and ensuring sufficient funds are available to handle such emergencies. No doubt, Mr. Cantor would gladly cut more entitlement programs aimed at helping the poor and disenfranchised, to make up the shortfall from having to pry open the public vault and spend the money the way it is supposed to be spent. He presumes that a family in Joplin would have $10,000 in the bank to use, when the median income there is not even $40,000 a year.

It is this abject disregard for the lives of his fellow countrymen that fills the heart with rancor and the mind with thoughts of evil. To be so callous, so lacking in compassion or decency, and to have no trouble with voicing such an opinion in public, is beyond the pale for a sworn representative of our nation. Is it any wonder that a vast body of Americans consider Washington, D.C. a den of iniquity more than a place of the serious business of a nation?

Eric Cantor does not represent the best of America. He, like many acolytes of the Monied Powers, is not interested in the welfare of the common citizen, but in the state of his own ego and bank account. Power is the only coin of the realm he will spend freely, though he will gladly pour the contents of the Treasury into whatever rat hole his shadowy masters bid him to, in the name of "fiscal responsibility." The heresy and hypocrisy of he and his ilk in Congress makes a decent American shudder and a Founding Father weep.

One can only urge the citizens of Maryland to erase this stain from their honor, and cut short Mr. Cantor's tenure with recall, or, failing that, not extend his reign into the next Congress. He does the state of Maryland and the nation a grave disservice in his hidebound politicization and moral temporizing. Surely we can do better.

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