Time to Fix a Broken Congress

Time to Fix a Broken Congress

Regardless of which party you support (in my case, it’s neither), it should be transparently clear that Congress as a governing body is hopelessly, incurably broken.

What we have, instead, with too few exceptions, are self-serving ideologues fighting for political control while working a three-day week and selling out to lobbyists to keep themselves in power.  It’s time to throw the bums out.  But only the American electorate can do that – if we Americans wake up to our responsibility.

The architect of our current government dysfunction is Newt Gingrich. (What else would you expect from someone named after a lizard?)  The Tea Party Republicans (aka the radical Freedom Caucus) just caused the cancer of big-money-supported partisan wars to metastasize.  But assigning blame for the mess we’re in to Republicans is beside the point – most congressional Democrats are just as culpable and dysfunctional now as Republicans.  http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/interrogation/2017/05/is_there_any_future_in_being_a_moderate_republican.html

The Democrats suffered through eight years of nasty hypocritical attacks and legislative inertia by the Republicans against President Obama. Now that Republicans are in power, most Democrats are similarly obsessed by attacking President Trump instead of putting better solutions in front of the public.

To be sure, Trump’s policies should be attacked. For starters, he has abandoned his campaign commitments to the working class Americans who provided him his victory. Forget the “Buy America, Hire America” rhetoric.  With the active support of congressional Republicans, he’s reneging on his promises to foster job growth, bring manufacturing back to the United States from abroad, increase wages, protect retirees against predatory investment schemes, protect workers from greed-driven occupational harm, and ensure that all Americans, but especially the working poor, have quality, affordable health insurance.  https://www.thenation.com/article/donald-trump-is-waging-a-war-on-workers/

His war on the environment, justified by the lie that caring about clean air and water and safe food hurts the economy, is criminal – and suicidal.

But the problem, at its core, lies with a Congress that on both sides of the isle, cares more about winning political battles based on rigid ideologies than on meeting their responsibility to the people who elected them.

For just a few examples, we need a sustained, creatively collaborative effort to foster job creation in a dynamically-evolving, technology – driven global economy. (That’s the real answer to poverty, by the way). We need a fair, affordable health care system for all Americans that addresses root causes like overpriced drugs and greed-driven insurers and healthcare monopolies.  We need an education system that doesn’t burden college students with crippling loans.   We need a tax system that doesn’t steal money from the middle and working class to enrich a mega-wealthy minority.  We need to make it possible for working people to earn a living wage that gives them a shot at the American Dream.  We need a democratic process that doesn’t cynically deprive some American citizens of the right to vote. And that’s just the start of the list.

We won’t get these outcomes from the current Congress. So the solution, starting now at the local level, is to find and elect people — Republicans or Democrats — committed to working for all Americans.

What does such an elected official look like?  Read this: http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/05/12/cheri-bustos-trump-territory-democrats-215126

And stay on top of your current elected officials to make sure they hear you. Show up and speak out at town meetings. Call, write or email them. http://theslot.jezebel.com/how-to-effectively-lobby-your-congressperson-1788958124  or  http://www.politico.com

The political differences will still exist. They’ve existed since the founding of our country.  We will always struggle with the balance of power between states and the federal government and between the rights of the individual and the good of the larger community, for just two examples. And there will always be a minority of radical extremists in both parties who rigidly refuse to accept the validity of any beliefs and values but their own.

But for our country’s future, the zero-sum, big-money -financed winner take all partisanship begun by Gingrich and bought into by so many existing members of Congress needs to end.

Ultimately, as a people, we get the government we deserve.  Even if Trump had meant to keep his promises to “drain the swamp,” (and if the GOP radicals had allowed him to do it) that’s not his job;  it’s our job.

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