The Abyss

Having read all the post-mortems of the Massachusetts state Senate election, I see no one actually admitting the real culprit: the abasement and subversion of  a people’s government for the betterment of our political and corporate interests.  I am hearing such semantic remedies as “course correction”, “getting back on track”, “reconnecting” and “rebooting”.  However, no actions have been taken to produce any change.

Frank Rich, in his New York Times Op-Ed today, comes the closest to a realistic analysis of where the Democrats (and Republicans) failed and where they need to go.  The bottom-line problem is all the attention being paid to the upcoming mid-term elections, rather than to what the people need.  As we have seen during the last year, sweeping someone into office and having a fool-proof majority in the Senate does not ensure a clear path for promises and progress.  No Siree: the only thing those factors signify is that we have a President elected by a large mandate and a Senate that is (was) filibuster-proof.

Frank Rich is good, but not totally complete in his ideas.  He steps back from taking his ideas to their natural conclusion: specific corrective actions.  Please read his article:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/24/opinion/24Rich.html?hp

My favorite paragraph is:

Kennedy didn’t settle for the generic populist rhetoric of Obama’s latest threats to “fight” unspecified bankers some indeterminate day. He instead took the strong action of dressing down U.S. Steel by name. As Richard Reeves writes in his book “President Kennedy,” reporters were left “literally gasping.” The young president called out big steel for threatening “economic recovery and stability” while Americans risked their lives in Southeast Asia. J.F.K. threatened to sic his brother’s Justice Department on corporate records and then held firm as his opponents likened his flex of muscle to the power grabs of Hitler and Mussolini. (Sound familiar?) U.S. Steel capitulated in two days. The Times soon reported on its front page that Kennedy was at “a high point in popular support.”

President Obama and our other elected officials have demonstrated a lack of any effective follow-through.  Great ideas, progressive policies and financial “saves” were all talked (and semi-legislated) to death.  In the end, nothing.  Bankers, investment enterprises, mortgage lenders, drug companies, insurance companies and yes, even the Supreme Court in all their supposed glory for backing the First Amendment could not stimulate our lawmakers into actually legislating for the people.

Now the President has signed on David Plouffe to work within Congress on the mid-term elections.  Plouffe was terrific during the campaign, and might also be successful in our upcoming elections.  Oh yeah: it is great to help the party, but who the hell will help the people?  That is the disconnect.  That is the abyss. Yet and still, I see no push, no emphasis, on the real mission, which is to deliver legislation to help Americans.  I understand that in order to do so, we must have our party members in office.  Yet, that is exactly what we had this past year and the legislative process became a contest of political gamesmanship for the benefit of the politicians and special interests.  The American people are still left with paying bailed-out banks their atrocious bonuses and no universal affordable health care.  This week’s Supreme Court decision to further allow our businesses to give without limit to the candidates of their choice geometrically increased our government’s loyalty to entities that can keep them in office rather than to responding to the needs of the people.

How come President Obama never got on his speaking platform and said, in plain English, that the financial industry is raping this nation?  Why hasn’t he come right out and listed the abuses of the health insurance companies?  He needs to name names.  To cite vague examples for the sake of arousing sympathy will not work.  It just serves to increase our helplessness.  Drastic times call for drastic measures.

Our representatives and senators are legislators.  It is time they did exactly that.  Take on those greedy Wall Street hoarders, select five or ten aspects of health care that must be passed and work together to do just that and start the legislative process to override the Supreme Court’s decision.  For Heaven’s sake, legislate!  Enact!

The abyss, the great divide, we have seen this year has been the gap between talking about fulfilling needs and then, in the end, being satisfied with making only the special interests happy.  Thus, by assuaging the needs of the corporate and political elite, our lawmakers have sacrificed the real needs of the people.  It is the classic carrot-and-stick approach.  The voters were lured in by promises of new, innovative and often, beneficial ideas.  Then, the peoples’ concerns got lost in the shuffle and all we were left with was the pacts made to the special interests.

President Obama and his Congress, despite some great ideas and oration, have been paralyzed so far.  They have to take decisive actions, whether it be reconciliation in the Senate to pass health reform or some kind of executive power to rein in the financial industry and cut them off at their knees.  With 41 Republican senators now, a filibuster is a possibility.  So what?  What’s the big deal?  Let the GOP filibuster.  Let them talk and delay for as long as they want.  This will serve only to raise the ire of the American population even more and then, just maybe, public disgust will turn the Party of No away from their sheer obstructionism.  No more wait-and-see.  No more compromise.  No more useless attempts at bipartisanship.  Actions speak louder than words, which can be flexibly twisted to reflect just about anything.  President Obama and Congress have used rubber cement as the main ingredient of their policies. Folks, what we have in place now is a Gumby Government, where the initial aims have been perverted, distorted and through very talented wordsmiths, been presented as what we were after in the first place.

Unless our government can refocus their goals based on the true needs of all Americans and translate them into responsive lawmaking, this great divide will be the only result we will have to show for our efforts.  A big hole in the ground.  What is needed is not an “ism”, such as “protectionism”, “populism” or “bipartisanism”.  The chasm of need versus specific remedy must be closed now.  Beside the destruction caused by alienation and anger of the American people, our viability as a functioning nation is also on the line.

So this crevasse in our country is about so much more than just winning elections which, in and of itself, is not a guarantee that our needs will be met.  It is about delivering to the country what was promised and what is ethically correct.  Above all, it is about our lawmakers upholding their oaths of office to the voters who elected them.  Our government, by design and constitutionality, operates to improve the lives of our citizens.  Contrary to present policy, our citizens do not exist for the benefit of our government.  Until this fact is acknowledged and answered by engaged execution of appropriate laws enacted by our legislators, the abyss of inertia stands.

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