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Friday
Dec092011

{Friday Rant} Wedding Blogs and Politics Go Hand-in-Hand? Naturally.

For those of you who are Facebook friends with me on my personal account (all 3 of you) you’ll have seen this already. For the rest of you (the other 3), take a listen here.

This really resonates with me. And it’s not just because I can appreciate a good rant. I mean, it’s one thing to blog-rant, but this was live freakin’ TV. Most awesome.

The guy has a point. A good point.

Right before the last election my dad, historically a conservative both in politics and life, was doing some weird stuff. Writing congressman. Writing intellectuals  and noted academics at multiple institutions and universities. He even read the Qur’an. Yeah, the whole thing. He started to come to some personal political conclusions that were starting to sound, well….a little banancakes. He sent these political conclusions to newspapers. He was even published a few times. I’m totally convinced he’s on some government watch list.

We’d start talking about something: immigration, congress, the national debt and he’d go off on a soliloquy of sorts, almost like he’d rehearsed the conversation. I’d turn and look at my mother, eyebrow cocked and she’d shake her head, waive her hand, snap the newspaper she was reading in disgust and completely ignore him. I asked her once, “Has Dad gone off the deep end?” And she replied, “Completely, but it keeps him busy.”

I guess that’s what nearly 50 years of marriage comes to: a little complacency and a lot of acceptance.

So that was about 4 or 5 years ago when all this was happening. He’s still writing letters and reading all sorts of things, but he’s less intense about it all now, partly because he’s completely torn up his back yard to lay a new brick patio. He’s involved in other projects.  I think at the time he was caught up in the excitement of figuring some stuff out. The really weird thing now? What he said was going to happen is happening. The crash of the economy, the rioting in the streets over financial institutions both at home and abroad. It’s a little creepy.

One of the things he believes is that we should have is a new amendment to the Constitution that limits terms of congress. Here’s why:

  • Term limits would lessen the probability of corruption by power.  Representatives who spend too many years in office, living in DC and away from their constituents, surrounded by lobbyists, easily become part of a professional governing class, remote from the concerns of normal people. Term limits would recreate a class of citizen-legislators, who see politics as a brief chance to make their country better, rather than as a long-term comfortable career for themselves.
  • Term limits would remove the advantages that incumbents have in a re-election campaign, regardless of the strength their opponents. These advantages stem from name recognition and from the greater access to funding that incumbent candidates have from businesses and lobbying groups.
  • Elected representative judgment  and honesty can be damaged by the on-going and costly need to campaign. This forces them to do the popular thing rather than the right one, to act in the narrow interest of their constituents rather than in the national one, and to pander to big business or other lobby groups in order to score funding.
  • Term limits would bring fresh faces, talents and experiences into the political process, including those of many people who might now have previously considered a political career. It would ensure that most law and policy makers would have “real world” experience outside of the political machine and bring more first-hand knowledge of business and industry into government.

There are down sides to this notion.

  • Experience counts. Every new job has a learning curve. It could  take months or even years to get a handle on the job. Policy issues and legislative bills are complicated and the public is best served by some continuity of service.
  • Term limits are an insult to the intelligence of voters, who in a democratic system are perfectly at liberty to get rid of an unsatisfactory politician.
  • Corruption can happen here too. There’s no incentive for a representative to do their best for the voters, whom they will not need to face again. They may try to reap as many financial benefits as possible before their term ends. They may lay with big businesses in order to land a cushy job post-term.
  • Amateur politicians are likely to be naïve and easily exploited by lobbyists.

I’m starting to think term limits might be the first, correct step to right a country gone horribly wrong. Since the Bush administration (heck, it goes back to Reagan really, as he raised the debt ceiling 17 TIMES!), we’ve made it easier and easier for banks and giant companies to rule the roost. I mean, for crissakes, they bullied not one but TWO Presidents into financial bailouts. Are you fucking kidding me? I love how Felonious Munk says it here (WORK PLACE WARNING: turn your volume WAY down):

The absolute corruption at the financial institution level is blinding apparent. It simply cannot be ignored. If you don’t believe it I’d call you simple. A nincompoop. Sadly disillusioned.

The race for the presidency has become yet another media exploit. The Republican party is desperate for a candidate. I can’t believe Michelle Bachman is still talking. Is Newt the best they’ve got right now? Are you kidding me? Besides his issues with women (he’s on his third wife, one of them was a prior mistress), he’s was a part of the House Banking Scandal in 1992 and wrote 22 bad checks on government money. In an act of incredible hypocrisy, Newt a “crusader” against taxes, obtained taxpayer subsidies for his personal and political goals by misusing tax-exempt groups. Using tax-exempt educational or charitable donations for partisan purposes is illegal, and several ethics complaints were filed against Gingrich. He agreed to pay a $300,000 fine for misleading the committee during the investigation, narrowly avoiding conviction. There were also the shady books deals in 1984 and again in 1995 involving millions of dollars and the use of taxpayer dollars for personal funding. Rupert Murdoch has Newt in his back pocket. This? THIS is the man running against Obama? And Romney? No way. I honestly don’t believe a Mormon will be elected in this country any time soon. I think the religion has too many associations with cult-like membership for liberals to fully accept. I'm not saying it IS a cult. I'm saying shit like Sister Wives and the zealots of the religion leave a bad taste in the mouths of other Christian religions. Conservatives want a different kind of Christian.  Besides, he’s too squeaky clean. It’s ALWAYS those who look the brightest and shiniest who end up being total deviants in some way, shape or form. I don’t buy it and would never vote for the guy.

The nightly news depresses me. I watch Brian Williams on NBC because he’s dreamy. Hearing the doom and gloom from a pretty talking head makes swallowing the horse pill of daily politics slightly more palatable.

Term limits. Let’s go back to term limits. What do we think about them? In my mind, it seems like one of the quickest and most succinct ways of turning this ship. And this is a BIG DAMN SHIP. We are going to have to lean hard on the rudder to turn it. It won’t be easy or fast, but we HAVE GOT TO START SOMETIME. How ‘bout NOW?

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Reader Comments (5)

Your Dad will be proud. :)

December 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMom

Fuck yeah. I wish I could argue as well as the talking head and Felonius Monk, but I am with them in spirit.

December 9, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterindependent clause

Yes, yes, yes and yes! The problem with term limits is the details of term limits and the fact that Congress will never, ever pass term limits on themselves without some serious, serious pressure from the people. How long is too long? Who's going to decide? Could they run again after sitting out for a while? Will there be different limits for Senate versus House reps? Loads of questions, but I agree with the basic theory.

I think the biggest issue is lobbyists and corporations funding elections. Get the money out of Washington and maybe these elected officials will have nothing better to do than pass laws in the best interest of the people instead of in the best interest of their lobbyists. I know that sounds a bit ideological, but at the same time there has to be someone out there who ran for an office because they wanted to do some good.

December 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNatosha

An inspiration. Your dad really did a great job on his influences with you.

December 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterWedding Favors

@Tina - Well I don't know if he completely influenced me, but he offered an option that I hadn't considered.

December 12, 2011 | Registered CommenterLouise

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