Are There Any Politicians Willing to Stand Up for American Values?
Will Congress Continue Pimping for the White House?
This commentary is reprinted from tanosborn.com with the author's permission.
by Ben TanosbornNothing seems to have changed under the Capitol’s dome. Last November’s election results, although producing a small majority for Democrats in the House – but leaving the Senate at the merci of a hawkish Likudian, Joe Lieberman – were not a mandate to institute change; maybe some light investigative opportunities to keep legislators busy and in the public eye, but definitely not change. Not on the mess in Iraq; or the one in Afghanistan; or on a foreign policy that has set the United States too often apart from the community of nations [and the American public], putting a country once liked and respected in great disfavor.
If the 107th Congress proved to be a true bipartisan whoremonger for Bush’s White House back in October of 2002, the 108th and 109th congresses didn’t bring any form of redemption, remorse or sanity to the legislature in Washington; not even suggestions for the Decider to carry on his bad decisions more efficiently. And, to date, all appearances indicate that the 110th wears the same red, yellow and blue colors that the others did. A bright canary yellow for cowardice replacing the white – mythically ascribed for purity – that alternates with red in Old Glory.
But why would anyone expect anything else when 90 percent of the legislators in the 107th were renewing their vows in the 110th exercising what they apparently believe to be their birthright to life tenure in politics? Just in case anyone has forgotten and needs a cheat sheet, in American politics citizens may cast the ballots but it is money, at times combined with public apathy, which ends up electing politicians to office.
Americans’ confidence and pride in their government have always emanated from the trust imputed to just one thing: the existence of a system of checks and balances. That has been the source of reliable strength for the Republic, and without it the workability of the Constitution would be questionable at best. And that system of checks and balances has failed, clearly failed, leaving many of us to question whether such system can ever be made to work again in a political environment of self-perpetuation.
Our Republic’s form of government with its three divisions is not that much different from that of the other republic of two millennia before: Rome. But after what has happened to this nation under George W. Bush, one is tempted to conclude that maybe the Romans’ collegial system – requiring at least two people for every office – might have worked better for America. At least the Romans had two consuls as chief civil and military magistrates to run the show – and they weren’t beholden to any party or group – who only during times of extreme emergency would appoint a Dictator, a veritable commander-in-chief (with just 6 months tenure) to cope with the existing crisis. Recent history seems to indicate that if Congress continues relinquishing its responsibilities to the Executive; America could easily be electing dictators from now on with tenures of 4 years a pop. As we have recently done… twice!
Of course, we could resort to impeachment to get these dictators ousted. But we don’t. No better time than the present for Congress to prove to the nation that they are in control, respectful of the duties and responsibilities assigned to them in the Constitution. But since the citizenry at large is filled with apathy, or resigned to wait until next election, Congress prefers not to act – as if in solidarity with a spiritual brotherhood of politicians that keeps this corrupt duopoly playing musical chairs. Why rock the boat when Democrats and Republicans hold the monopoly of the nation’s politics?
What’s happening in Congress, or rather what is not happening in Congress, defies the most basic political sense. It’s not just Democrats in Congress who should be asking for the political heads of the malicious-duo, Bush and Cheney, but Republicans as well. It is not a political or ideological duel that is being fought; nothing that resembles right against left, conservatism against liberalism… it’s something far, far different from that. True fiscal conservatives and other traditionalists must be turning in their graves when they see their ideas and legacy being held hostage by an inept group of neocons whose objective is solely a redistribution of wealth from the working poor to the rich, doing so not just through unjust taxation but also war. A reality that comes home to roost: mixing money and politics, at the level reached in the United States, is a recipe for disaster.
There won’t be any punishment for this nation’s Scoundrel-in-Chief living in the White House or for his villainous consul-mentor. At least for now, Bush and Cheney appear to be safe from any possible impeachment by Congress… or any citizen-multitudes rushing after them with pitchforks. Americans have become civilized to the point of total indifference, absorbed by the apparent essence to their lives: consumerism.
Meantime Congress is already giving us a few candidates to the presidency for 2008, people who were derelict in their duties back in October 2002 when they shamelessly surrendered their votes and their souls giving their “ayes” on the Iraq war resolution to the most deceitful administration this nation has ever seen; people like:
Sen. Joseph R. “Joe” Biden, Jr. (D – Delaware)
Sen. Sam D. Brownback (R – Kansas)
Sen. John S. McCain, III (R – Arizona)
Sen. Hillary R. Clinton (D – New York)
Sen. Christopher J. “Chris” Dodd (D – Connecticut)
Rep. Duncan L. Hunter (R – California)
Rep. Thomas G. “Tom” Tancredo (R – Colorado)
The longer Bush remains in the White House the more convinced I am that it hasn’t been just Congress pimping for the president and his administration, but even those of us who knew better from the moment he was inaugurated but refused to set our speakers loud enough to really help make a difference... our voices drowned in our own courteous but misguided moderation.
List of American Values
Third Parties Fight for American Democracy
Can the Democratic Party Reform Itself?
Email this article Sign up for free Progress Report updates via email
What are your views? Share your opinions with The Progress Report:
Page One Page Two Archive Discussion Room Letters What's Geoism?