Saturday, June 13, 2009

Our Nation Is Insane

Our nation is insane. Or at least it is exceptionally dysfunctional.
The Founding Fathers envisioned a nation governed for the people, by the people, in the form of a democratic republic, for the benefit of all of its citizens. It did not envision a nation that seeks to benefit and protect, indeed go to war, for large, multinational corporations. Yet that is what we see today.
The members of Congress are sent to Washington supposedly to look out for the members of their respective constituencies, by making laws and appropriating funds.
Generally, the average person does not run for Congress because it is very expensive to do so. The cost to run for the Senate is at least 10 million dollars. Because of the short two year terms for members of The House of Representatives, they are constantly looking to raise campaign funds. Thom Hartmann states that members of Congress wake up with the need to raise at least 20 thousand dollars, each and every day. Over half of our 99 Senators (still don't have Al Franken) are multi-millionaires.
Once members of Congress gain their seats they tend to like to stay there. Look at Senator Arlen Spector for instance. Rather than risk losing a tough bid for Republican reelection in Pennsylvania, he chose to change parties and become a Democrat, were he has a much better chance to remain a Senator. He said so as much himself, stating that he chose to not want the Republican lawful election process to deprive him of his office. He also stated that he was odds with the Republican party, thinking it was shifting increasingly to the extreme right, but since becoming a Democrat, he still votes just as he always has, opposing most of President Obama's policies.
So it would seem that rather then a government run by the people, for the people, we have a government run by an elite class, with its main goal being to remain in power and raise huge amounts of cash.
Lobbyists are paid by special interests to influence members of Congress. These special interests are often powerful and immensely wealthy business interests whose only possible impediment to their agendas are the laws Congress enacts. Bribery is illegal, except in the form of campaign contributions to members of Congress. So what we have is a situation in which members of Congress, whose job it is to over see the activities of large cooperate interests, by law, for the general good of the people, being kept in power by those corporate interests, with paid activists whose only job is to influence Congress to further the goals of corporations. Insanity.
Clearly in order to correct this situation massive election reform is needed through public financing. But those in power, especially the Republican party, would like nothing better than for things to remain just they way they are. Democrats aren't much better. As long as the cash keeps coming in most in Congress would like to keep the idea of election reform on the back burner, and out of the media. Granted the current Democratically controlled Congress has a lot on its plate with the huge mess the Bush administration has left them, but election reform is vital to the democratic process, and I don't hear Harry Reid or Nancy Pelosi bringing up the subject. The only entity that can effect election reform is Congress itself, which has a vested and selfish interest not to enact election reform. Insanity.
Wars are initiated as a form of corporate welfare. The government won't say that, of course, no it will say war is needed because there is a threat to the nation, like weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Even if Iraq did have weapons of mass destruction, which it didn't, so what? They had no way of striking the United States, and knew very well what would happen if they did. And Israel, who does possess weapons of mass destruction, was always capable of countering a hostile Iraq, all by itself, as is currently the case with Iran. When Bush didn't find any WMDs, he said we needed to go to war with Iraq to liberate the Iraqi people, by bombing them, and to spread democracy. If that was a real reason to spend our national wealth and blood then the conflict in Darfur would have ended years ago. No there is only one reason that we went to war with Iraq... oil, and its control, although Bush screwed that up as well, as he did with everything else.
We could use a spread of democracy right here in the US.
There are those who would change our government into a theocracy, based on their particular brand of religion, and impose their will on the rest of us, based on tyrannical and unproven beliefs that have no place in today's society. Insanity.
The world is insane too. Overfishing is a gigantic environmental crisis, on a par with global warming. The blue fin tuna, a staple of sushi enthusiasts, is nearing extinction in the Mediterranean and east Atlantic oceans, due to decades of commercial fishing. What is the response? Send out the fishing fleet again, get the rest of the animals until there are none left, then find some other species to hunt next. Insanity.
Our nation was founded on a set of principles, with the goal of attaining those principles as a way of life unforeseen in the world until then. The principles have been replaced by materialism, with the shallow goal of finding happiness by attaining things, the more the better. Greed, either materialistic or idealogical, is the greatest problem our nation, and our world faces. It has always been the greatest problem, and one we must recognize and deal with. To do anything else is just... insane.

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