Sunday, May 1, 2011


As the battle for the budget builds into ever-widening crescendo of rhetoric, let us stop to consider, for a moment, how we really got to this point of being so far in debt. Let us critically examine what our government owes us, and more importantly, what we owe it. Not just in monetary terms, mind you, but in our adherence to the responsibility we were given for our government by those created it over two hundred years ago.

When it comes to the budget of the United States of America, the operating capital that allows a unified national government to function, there is always disagreement to spare. Large numbers and percentages are hurled about as if they were words from upon the mount, and the internecine squabbles over who caused what and who wants to do what to whom are so supercilious and time-consuming, that it is a wonder the Federal government works at all. Just look at the number of times continuing resolutions must be passed to keep the government running, so that Congress will have more time to squabble.

To have the nation we have, it is not enough that flowery words were placed upon paper, and that blood was spilled to free us from both foreign powers and our own intransigence. The United States does not exist without a centralized government, to ensure that all Americans are treated equally, fairly, and provided with the necessary tools to succeed in this world. That government must be strong enough to ensure that the principles of the nation and the laws it creates are enforced throughout the length and breadth, and that we are all protected from troubles both foreign and domestic. A weak, insufficient, and ineffectual government could never sustain a nation -- just ask the Confederate States of America.

While a centralized government must be strong enough to coordinate all the various functions that are required for it to carry out its mandate -- as outlined in the Preamble to the Constitution -- it must also be smart enough to know when certain burdens and certain systems are best handled by State and local governments. While a strong central government is pivotal to the survival of a nation, if it becomes bogged down in taking care of every little detail of the nation's operation, it becomes no better than a hierarchy of paper-pushers, more allied to bureaucracy to the people they serve.

The government of our nation gets its strength, fortitude, and wisdom from the ranks of the citizenry. It is we who elect our representation, it is we who support the infrastructure of government through paying our fair share of taxes, and it is we who are charged with the maintenance of the system, through our participation in elections and through the use of a free press to keep an eye on those we elect. The board of directors of the United States is well over three-hundred million strong, and it is up to everyone who has a say to make their voice heard and their actions felt if the system is to operate properly.

We all know, however, that the system does not operate properly. The vociferous and bombastic tone of Washington, D.C. is a direct result of our lackadaisical handling of our responsibilities. The fact that there are those in government right now, who would claim that the solution to our fiscal problems is the dissolution of things like Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, and handing them to the pirates of the private sector, shows that they have no interest in learning the fine art of governance. They would merely like to render those things they do not personally agree with -- or their party tells them they do not agree with -- dead, in contravention of the oath they took to defend and uphold the Constitution of the United States, which clearly states that it is their job to provide for the health, safety, welfare, and protection of the citizens of the United States, through the auspices of their power as our elected representatives.

It's very easy to play with the lives of others when you do not fear or suffer the repercussions of your own laws. That those who attend in Congress end up better off than most of their constituency in the end is a sign of a system that is more of monarchy than democracy. Congressmen have fallen into the trap of becoming Lords, who look down upon us as their servants, as opposed to the other way around. We have allowed this entrenchment to persist, because we simply listen to the sprightly tunes they play during the election season, rather than applying the cold, hard stare to their records and to the health of the nation, and wondering exactly what it is they think they've done for us.

If there is a budget shortfall, of the debt is increasing, it is not the size of government that is the issue. It is the constant frittering away of responsibility which has brought us into this gloomy pit. We know it takes a certain amount of capital to run a nation, and yet our legislators not only cannot see that in most cases, they cannot wrap their heads around the fact that the reason for the debt we incur is their wanton spending. And rather than ensure a constant and robust stream of revenue to support the institutions that make our nation run, they constantly choke off the money supply, either through tax breaks to the wealthy, subsidies to industries that do not need them, or building loopholes into the tax code that allow American corporations to ship their profits and their jobs overseas, without penalty.

If we do not have enough money to run the nation, and if the government is not as efficient as it could be, and if we are on the brink of financial ruin, then we have no one to blame but ourselves, because we have shirked our duty to see that the best and brightest are sent to Washington, D.C. to govern the nation. Instead, we have continually sent the same mountebanks back time-and-again, and allowed them to run roughshod over our liberty, try to deny us our due as citizens, and pilfer the treasury to pad their own fiefdoms. When you listen to the "debate" over the budget, you are not hearing the echoes of our Founders, but the cacophony of the crows picking over the bones of our nation.

If you want the nation to be righted, want to stop worrying about your future, then it is time to go to the polls and pick up your long dormant responsibility. It is time to put responsible agents in place, who will do what is best for us, not what is best for them and their political party. It is time to elect governors, not more politicians. If we do this, we stand to make our nation whole again; if we do not, we will watch the abyss swallow us whole.

1 comment:

  1. Currently studying social construction in my masters public admin program. Your post does a fine job of stepping back from the default positions from which we tend to argue our points to illustrate the importance of personal responsibility in ensuring that we achieve governance from federal government