Saturday, June 6, 2015

Not Just Another Dry Rant on Politics, or A Bipartisan System Lubricated by "Campaign Funding" is Absurd

It's a tuesday night. Imagine we are watching a sporting event. It starts with a montage of photos and video footage promoting a competitor. Next there are snips of interviews with the competitor and their supporters. Next there is the opposition and their supporters. A lot of posing and soundbites designed to crank up the crowd. The fight begins. The fight ends. Some sports are real and it is about skill or how well the referee attends the fight. Some are entertainment, like professional wrestling and political campaigns unfortunately you only know the sponsors of the wrestlers. The political sponsors may be hiding behind sub companies names so you may not see the giant behind multiple donations pulling the puppet strings on candidates. 

An open mouth! It is a candidate using someone else's excellent writing skills to persuade you through their charisma and charm that they actually are there to represent you. Hold on, have you taken the time to review any of their track records? We are a country of inattentive parents wondering  why our metaphorical teenagers (politicians) are out of control. How many times have you looked up to see how often your representatives are attending sessions in Washington? How many times have you looked up to see what legislation they are actually signing, writing, suggesting and voting for? Are you just assuming that because they have the "Democrat" or "Republican" label that you feel fits you, that they must be doing their best on your behalf because their "shirt has the same tag"? That is as absurd as assuming that just because someone else wears the same shirt as you, they make the same choices and have the same goals that you do. Stupid, huh? 

It's human nature to want to be included, to identify yourself with a description into a group. We like being included, we like fitting. Unfortunately the parties do not fit anymore. Our political system is broken. 

Basically, if you were to hand a legislator several million dollars for their campaign you can tell them how to vote. In fact, the people funding the campaigns are corporations, and the corporations are getting the votes on the legislation they want. They are educated in politics, they follow Washington, they monitor who's showing up and who's voting on what. They have to know that stuff to know where to direct their energy so that while you are busy worrying about late bill payment, feeding your kids healthy food, appealing health insurance coverage, and just keeping your head above water- those corporations are making sure their agendas are met. For them, with the resources and finances to lubricate political wheels they smile while the American public- poor, middle class, and would be upper class all suffer at a proportion that feeds conflict. One person staunchly supports legislation because it finally gave them financial breathing room while another bitches that their rights just got stepped on and that they shouldn't have to support anyone else. 

When did anyone in this country come to deserve to be entitled? Sorry, but supporting each other rather than punishing or being intolerant of others is human and crucial. We are all human, we are all fallible and WE ALL DESERVE RESPECT AND SUPPORT. No one deserves to be paid lower than their worth, no one should be a criminal because they need medication, no one should die because their insurance coverage was declined. We should not have to teach children that water is not safe to drink, we should be working on legislation to protect the environment as IT IS THE ONLY ONE WE HAVE, there is no magic reset button or cosmic parent that is going to show up to clean our metaphorical room. 

You might think I am taking this too far, but just to show you how moronic it is to blindly buy into and support a candidate because of their party affiliation here: 

Apache Junction Arizona: Pinal County elections for Constable in 2014. John Acton was running Republican, he was caught using misleading and false statements in his campaign after he was elected. The county decided on a recall election, giving the public a chance to vote again- thinking that the public would make a wise decision considering the candidate was inappropriate based on the behaviors he was caught doing in his campaign. A little about Apache Junction; it is lovely but it's mostly retired folks and loud, proud Republicans. They voted him in again over an independent candidate who had no record of wrongdoing with 58% of the vote. Several months later, he was already in trouble for harassing residents, threatening them using his title as if he were a wild west shoot them all Sheriff. The county is trying to figure out how to deal with the loose cannon the public permitted to step into a position he is not fit for. John McCain slipping in a hand off of land that a prior President designated to NEVER allow mining- knowingly to a large mining company on a defense budget bill for a small profit in comparison to what the company will take home to their owners overseas while they destroy land that has historical significance to the Apaches. 

Democrats do not sit back and pat your backs, your party has also had it's share of inept and corrupt officials. Obama could have refused to sign the defense bill until the rider McCain added was removed; instead he said play nice and ducked out of the controversy; he also hasn't made a move to free Leonard Peltier although he could step up and resolve an old wrong instead of perpetuating it. Hilary Clinton moved to New York State to give herself a better shot at presidential candidacy. These examples may seem opinionated or weak but I save the best for last. Democrats, do I need to bring up the names of Democratic Governors of Illinois convicted of corruption? 

Time for us to stop picking a generic description to become a part of a group. Time for us to make a description for ourselves - if that is what we need- to become responsible citizens. To monitor our politicians and their actions; to review candidates not based on sound bites or media coverage but on their actions, their demonstration of skills and their choice to decline taking funding from corporate sponsors if the funding includes corporate puppeteering. Corporations do NOT care about your health, they do NOT care what you want, they CARE about THEIR profits. It comes down to what they can convince you that you need to consume, how much you NEED to spend and have the things they sell. Do not HUMANIZE them, do not allow advertisements to cloud your judgement. At the end of the day it comes down to numbers, to money, and how much of yours they can get. 

Become Independent. Be Proud, be original, be a thinking, autonomous American. Choose to join a growing faction of people who do not care about labels. Actions speak louder than words. Let's start hearing the speeches and talks in Charlie Brown adult noises and start looking at the bottom line. 

Resumes, references, lists of achievements- we should want to see them. We should also be asking: who is funding you and WHO IS DOING YOUR WRITING!?! 

We should be pressuring for legislation changes to stop PACs. We should be pressuring for legislation to abolish or limit the potential of lobbyists. Instead we're playing games, watching sitcoms, and whining. Time for change. If we don't like how dirty our metaphorical room has gotten, it is up to us to make changes. 

We can boycott products, we can use social media to create petitions and to form groups to watchdog political actions and choices. Instead we share moronic memes. We have power. Each of us is capable of more than we realize. A majority of us is easily possible. Think if 10,000 people protest a political bill through boycotting products, that is a large profit lost; media coverage fuels further impact. If one million people protested through "sick out" i.e. calling in sick on the same day across the country to protest a political choice- it would bring the country, the politicians and corporations to their knees within a day or two. Think about it. You are free whether you realize it or not, whether you utilize your freedom or choose to see yourself caught in the endless hamster wheel of American society today. 

The choice is yours. Instead of treading water, voicing the same concerns repeatedly- take steps to change. Take steps to educate yourself, to vote with your spending, to monitor political issues not through social media coverage but through the numbers, through the decisions made. 

We could make our country one to be proud of again, rather than an opinionated, biased, irrational, unpredictable and mostly mediocre one. Wouldn't it be nice to be proud of our international status, rather than be viewed at oblivious world bullies and users? Wouldn't it be nice to work with people, to exercise tolerance and to promote good health and wellbeing here- and around the world? 

I could be wrong. The track records of BOTH parties demonstrate that I am at least partially right. Government is supposed to be about REPRESENTING THE PEOPLE; not the Corporations.