A Hawk and a Handsaw

I am but mad north-north-west: when the wind is southerly, I know a hawk from a handsaw.” – Hamlet

Ever wonder why nothing of value for the public ever gets accomplished in Washington? It’s by design. Both the Republicans and the Democrats play roles ordained by their rich benefactors, aka Sugar Daddies. 

The endless gridlock, bluster, and sniping harken back to high school and childish cliques. But it’s all for show. And the rich folks love the system just as it is because it’s full of corporate welfare and handouts for them. How else would they have gotten so rich and pay no taxes? They bribe lawmakers to make laws officially stealing your tax money for them. Pretty good eh, crooks making the laws.

Why does the current system continue? Because the rich folks are putting up the only candidates the public get to vote on. There’s really no difference between either of the candidates; in effect, the opposition party and the real differences have been eliminated. Moreover, that’s what has happened to the whole government: the checks and balances have been removed by the money men. That’s why the whole Washington political body seems to have gone crazy. Only it’s not; the bickering is only for show and designed strictly to be a distraction to the public. Nothing of importance changes. The rich keep getting their corporate welfare, and everyone else pays for it.

What’s the problem?
First, our values have eroded because of the greed and pride of the elites. In fifty years, we’ve went from the being a creditor nation to being a debtor nation. That means the quality of life and pay for most Americans has declined. That’s not a result of outside competition or globalization; that’s a direct result of economic policies from the president and congress letting the rich write the laws. The only competition from outside the US is how low wages will go. The lie about competition our corporate leaders have been spinning the past thirty-plus years has paid dividends for them and left everyone else in the ditch. With this lie about competition and globalization, the politicians have sold us out and let whole industries move to other countries for cheap labor and thrown millions of US citizens out of work and ruined their lives.

When you start to compare where the US is today and fifty years ago, you’ll find steep declines in every aspect, from the public education system to quality of life, from affordability to how we treat each other.

Second, we lack leadership. In the past, we had statesmen (Democrats and Republicans) who put the best interests of the country and its citizens ahead of politics. They had lines they would not cross. Many were veterans who fought in WWI, WWII, the Korean War, and Viet Nam. Today, it’s rare to see vets in elected positions, and instead we find an overabundance of “businessmen”. Typically they’re either mediocre or failed businessmen who bring a bottom-line mentality with them that favors corporate Mission Statements over the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. In fact, referring to the president as the CEO of the country is something that began in the Reagan years to reflect the the assimilation of government by corporations. Even the Supreme Court has been infected with more ideological and corporate-friendly justices being placed on the bench. The Roberts court has handed down more decisions in Supreme Court history that favor corporations.

Third, we used to have leaders with vision that made America strive to be the best in the world. And we accomplished things other nations only dreamt of. We eradicated diseases, helped rebuild countries after WWII, went to the moon, and invented technology that benefitted everyone. The Marshall Plan built America’s reputation as the world leader and earned goodwill with other countries. Today, the bottom-line mentality of corporate politicians has killed almost everything in this country including the entrepreneurial spirit. The only “new ideas” we hear today are what to cut and how much corporate welfare to give the rich. Other countries don’t hate us for our freedom; they hate us for our arrogance, hypocrisy, bullying, warmongering, and being dishonest. That kind of thinking has created the problems we face today and it won’t help fix those problems.

Last, America has lost its ability to understand right from wrong. We attach a price to everything. Money makes every decision. And it’s killing us and our future. We no longer have a national sense of purpose. We choose expediency and the bottom line over long term benefits. We choose war over diplomacy. We don’t hold people accountable for major crimes anymore. We over incarcerate for minor offenses. We cut corners in all critical areas like education, health, and safety. We do things on the cheap. We’ve grown self-centered and narrow-minded. We reward individuals for ruining lives. And the worst thing we do is let politicians lie to us with impunity. The government has no legitimacy at this point; it can only use force to impose its will on the public.

How does it change?
First, acknowledge that the rich and powerful are not your friends and do not have your best interests in mind. They are only interested in what’s best for them. They have money and power to influence elections. So stop voting against your own interests.

Second, get off the red and blue wagons. They’re bought and paid for already, no matter what they promise in the campaign. They’re not liberal or conservative; they’re flunkies doing the bidding of the money men.

Third, beware of vague, feel-good promises. The last four presidential elections have been about vague platitudes of hope and change and compassionate conservatism. None of the candidates offered any detailed plans for how to create jobs other than tax breaks for the wealthy. If they can’t provide details, then they’re just giving lip service to people.

Last, pick someone who can offer real change. Look at where their campaign donations are coming from and think of what they’ll be required to do if elected. The Bush and Obama administrations are perfect examples of corruption, cronyism, and pay-to-play patronage.

Our politicians are fond of implying they knew what the Founding Fathers had in mind a couple of centuries ago when they wrote the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. They also talk to god and know that the sole purpose of the Constitution was the right to individually own atomic weapons, tanks, and machine guns via the Second Amendment (while getting a waiver from military service).

Don’t believe it
Thomas Jefferson believed the Constitution should be completely rewritten every nineteen years. His reason was the next generation shouldn’t have to live with laws established by the previous generation if they were no longer relevant. He believed the Constitution and the laws written by one generation should expire with that generation. A perfect example of this is the internet and how it’s changed our lives and business. There is no way the country’s founders could have foreseen what the 21st century would look like. They built a good foundation for the start of a new country two centuries ago. That doesn’t mean it’s perfect or will necessarily fit in the 21st century. They were only human, not gods or divine oracles.

And what of Hamlet, the crazy, mad prince who kept an eye on his enemies by playing the fool. Politicians today act crazy and extreme according to their script, but they’re very worried that the public will finally get fed up with them. After all, having congress in session costs taxpayers $1 billion annually in generous pay, full pension, and full benefits including some of the most ridiculous perks like hair care, gift shop trinkets, stationary, foreign currency, and health club memberships, all while blocking anything positive for the public. It’s always helpful to remember what JFK said, “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.”

Finally, the change we want is not impossible if we remember that we’re all in this together. Despite this being an uphill battle, a quote from the tv show Northern Exposure rings true: “One person can have a profound effect on another. And two people…well, two people can work miracles. They can change a whole town. They can change the world.”