You detested the negative, misleading and outright false TV and radio ads that you endured for what seemed like decades, although it was only for this election season just ended. Sadly, it lasted for six painful years. Over that period of time you and the rest of us collectively held congress in ever-lower esteem, such that it was down to 11% approval by the time you voted. That resulted in a few seats turned over in both the House and Senate and a few of the blazing hair-on-fire radicals were made available for other employment.
America continues to be faced with a hornet’s nest of really challenging problems. We would still have debt and deficit issues even without President Bush having started two unfunded, unnecessary wars, cut taxes and passed an unfunded drug program. It took the concerted effort of several presidents and congresses to engineer the Wall Street meltdown that led to the massive unemployment that persists today. And Social Security and Medicare still would eventually have shortfalls, although the beginning of the shortfalls would have been much later had our economy been strong.
The really crazy part of all of that is that instead of solving these problems or making them incrementally better during President Obama’s first term, congress did next to nothing. And our national problems are like most problems, in that if nothing is done to fix them, they get worse. Here is a very recent example of why our problems aren’t getting solved.
John McCain and Lindsay Graham labored tirelessly to invent a scandal over Susan Rice and her preliminary announcement of events in Benghazi, Libya. They continued their bombastic accusations from their perch in the fact-less ignorance tree right up until the time they were forced to listen to someone in the know tell them what actually happened. These senior senators were practicing obstructionist behavior, that of distraction via non-issue. That causes gridlock and – get this clearly – does not solve our problems, any more than hundreds of filibusters do.
So here we are ready to start the second Obama term, once again with a divided congress. Did I mention that our approval of congress is about 11%? The reason that we disapprove of congress is because of the obstructionism that ensures that nothing gets better. It is so strange, then, that we sent most of our legislators back to Washington. We seem to disapprove of congress but we approve of our individual legislators. Are you seeing a disconnect?
I don’t mean to imply that we should have thrown them all out. What we should have done is to throw out all those who have shown us that they are far more interested in their own agenda than ours, like the knuckle draggers who held the world hostage over our debt ceiling last year. The obstructionists should have been shown the door, every one of them. We and our 11% approval congress are at odds with one another, and our part in that is that we have rehired many of the obstructionists and sent them back to exert their dysfunction on America.
There is still something we can do to get America moving forward. Call your senators and congressman and tell them you want progress. Tell them that you want them to solve this fiscal cliff craziness, for example. Write them letters telling them that if they continue to obstruct that you will campaign vigorously for their removal in 2014. Tell everyone you know to do the same. Your legislators in Washington want to protect their careers, so all of us together just might get through to them that it’s in their interest to recognize that we are more important than their brainless pledge to Grover Norquist.
The election of 2012 is over, yet you still have a part. You’ll always have a part. You got up and voted. Now, don’t go back to the couch.
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