cartoon image illustrating congressional gridlock

We’re Mad as Hell! And We’re Not Going to Take It Anymore!

I rarely write about politics. Primarily for two reasons. My feeling has been that government is just too big and complicated to deal with anymore. So there’s nothing one person can do about political issues except vote.

Secondly, it’s easier for me to be apathetic and look the other way than it is to complicate my life with daily worrying about political issues that I can do nothing about.

So I’m guilty; guilty as hell. I’m guilty of not giving a rip about what goes on in Washington D.C..  And it’s that kind of attitude that has got us where we are today. I contribute to that mess. And I’m sure that a lot of other folks do too.

However, I have some good news and some bad news……..

First, The Good News

The good news is that  it’s no longer a secret what is wrong with our economy and government. Some say it’s an Obama problem. It isn’t. Some say it’s a problem with Democrats in general. That’s not true. Others say we didn’t have these problems until we pushed this “global economy” thing and now that the whole world is just one giant economy, our political/economic affairs are in shambles.

But everyone seems to know that a big problem does indeed exist. That’s good. That’s a start….

The White House

Neither party seems to be able to put forth true leaders for President. What ever happened to the Abe Lincoln’s, the Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s, and the John F. Kennedy’s of the world? You know; people who could lead and had vision. We’re in a leadership vacuum with only a 40% approval rating for the current President.

The Congress

What happened to our representation in Congress? We elect a bunch of “no-bodies” that no one ever heard of and then once they arrive in D.C., their only interest is in getting rich on our tax dollars and spending whatever is left over. Have you ever wondered why one candidate would spend $100 million dollars in order to gain a seat in Congress? That new record was set in the most recent mid-term election by a candidate for the U.S. Senate, who would represent North Carolina, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

What is it that causes candidates to desperately risk anything and everything in order to get a seat in the federal government? I don’t think that it has anything to do with representing the issues that most concern you and I.

The Judicial Branch

The judiciary branch is supposed to be non-partisan. But the judges on the Supreme Court are appointed by the sitting President, and the President takes care to appoint a “good ole boy” whose philosophy is closely akin to that of the President and the President’s party. So much for the non-partisan part.

How many more years is the Court going to debate abortion? That debate began in 1973. How long will gay rights be debated? The debate started in 2003 with Lawrence vs. Texas. That was eleven years ago. Is there anyone in our government who is capable of making a decision?

Oops! There’s Also Bad News

Now the bad news…. We let all this happen. By we, I mean all of us. We have been apathetic all these years about what takes place in Washington D.C. primarily because we all feel that there’s nothing to be done about it.

Like I said, I’m just as guilty as you are. But as the old adage goes, “you can try the patience of a saint”. I’m not a saint but I’ve been told more than once that I’m pretty short on patience. Now I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore. You may feel the same way once you watch the following video.

I don’t know where this video came from. Somebody uploaded it to YouTube in March 2009. Our current President took office January 1 of the same year. One of my wife’s good friends sent the video to us in e-mail and my wife asked me to watch it.

It’s easy to be apathetic about politics and then go on with your life. But when someone throws everything that is wrong with government in your face in 6 minutes, it’s pretty intense. I was livid. I was aware of the issues. But, due to my disinterest in politics, I try not to think about them.

  1. Why are our “public servants” in Congress exempt from Social Security when the rest of us are expected to live on a puny S.S. check once we turn 62 years of age?
  2. Why do our “public servants” get to retire on full pay for life when the majority of the people that they represent cannot even make ends meet in retirement? After the Great Recession,  many “baby boomers” can no longer afford to retire.
  3. Why do our “public servants” get fee medical/dental insurance for life when the rest of us get “Obamacare”?
  4. Why do our “public servants” vote on their own pay raises in secret when their constituents haven’t see a pay raise in years? (Caterpillar Tractor Co. comes to mind. Bloomfield Business Week Magazine recently reported that workers at Caterpillar haven’t seen a pay raise in over 10 years).

Now Let’s Cut to the Video!

I’m going to stop jabbering for fear of getting myself into more hot water. WATCH THE VIDEO! It’s good and it’s well done. How good, you say?

I’ll share this with you. I received unverified information that a White House staffer discovered the video on YouTube and made Mr. Obama aware of the video. Obama watched it and was deeply disturbed by its content. So much so that he secretly summoned the video creator (a civilian) to the White House. Before doing that, he instructed his staff not to mention or talk about the video or the meeting with the video’s author. There was to be no press or even an acknowledgement that the White House knew anything about the video. As I said, I cannot verify this information. Take it for what it’s worth. It came to me via an e-mail stream from people that I know and trust. WATCH THE VIDEO.

So how did that feel? I was pretty much left speechless. How much of our money do you suppose is being wasted in Washington D.C.?

Don’t even attempt to answer that. So what now? I’m not feeling quite so apathetic anymore. I seem to have been shaken out of my political stupor. Or maybe it was the video in combination with the most recent Congressional mid-term election fiasco.

Time to Take Action!

Here’s what I intend to do. First, I’ll send that tea bag to my Congressmen. I have plenty of tea bags. They need to get tea bags in the mail year round.

Then I will bookmark the contact information for the two Senators from my state (Wisconsin) and the House representative from my district. And I will be more vocal about what they are doing (if anything) in Congress.

Do you have any idea how easy it is to get on-line, click on a bookmark in your browser, and fire off an e-mail to your Congressional representatives to let them know how you feel about the issues at hand? I can do that. Heck, I send and receive all kinds of e-mail in the course of a day. Why shouldn’t I pop off a couple of e-mails and let my guys in Washington know what I think about the way that they are behaving?

What would happen if all of us did the same? Now that’s a pretty scary thought.

  1. How much money do you think this country could save if we asked Congress to retire on the average retirement stipend of their constituents instead of full pay for life?
  2. And as a bonus for our government representatives, let’s require them to pay into Social Security, just like we do. So that they can enjoy that Social Security check when it arrives every month after the age of 62. But they must be careful not to let greed overtake them. Because if they have any ideas about retiring rich, that puny little Social Security check gets taxed so that what’s left can barely buy a tank of gas. I know that from first-hand experience.
  3. How much more would our government save if we asked our Senators and Representatives to reduce their monthly pay to the average monthly pay of their constituents? No need to vote on raises anymore. If average monthly pay for their constituents goes up, so does the pay of Congressmen from that state or district. If it goes down, same deal for Congressmen. Maybe they would give a little more consideration to raising the minimum wage IF IT DIRECTLY IMPACTED THEIR PAY!
  4. How much more would this country save if we asked Congress to locate and buy their own medical and dental insurance, just like we do? Do you think that would change their opinion of ObamaCare, which the majority of the people in this country hate?

Why is it that our representatives in Washington D.C. do not live under the same set of laws and policies that we do?

Take Action With Me. I Did the Leg-work Below For You

I’ll stop pestering the issue now. I think you get the point. In order to make your life easier, here are the bookmarks that you need in order to fire off an e-mail to your Congressmen whenever the urge strikes you.

The House of Representatives (http://www.house.gov/)

  1.  In the upper right hand corner of the Home Page, just below the search bar, note that is says “Find your Representative”.
  2. Enter your zip code and click on Go.
  3. On the next page you’ll see a thumbnail photo of your representative on the left.
  4. Next to the thumbnail photo you’ll see a little envelope icon. Click on it.
  5. Now you are ready to type your e-mail and let your representative know what is on your mind. How hard was that?

(Hmmm. It says the House is not in session now, November 8, 2014. What a surprise! Did I miss a holiday or something?)

The Senate (http://www.senate.gov/)

  1.  Again, in the upper right-hand corner of the Home Page, you will see a drop-down menu where all you need to do is pick your state and click Go.
  2. Bingo. The next page displays your senators information.
  3. No thumbnail photos this time. But note that each Senator has their own website. Click on the link.
  4. That will take you directly to their contact page on their website where you can compose your message right on their page.
  5. Note that there is a check box so that you can request a response to your message from your Senator. How cool is that?

Now when writing to your Congressmen, there’s no need to be eloquent and proper. You are exercising your right to free speech. The contact information is there specifically for your use. Just be you. There’s something about being you that makes what you write become real. Does that make sense?

Be nice and be polite. Being nice gets results. Being rude, disrespectful, and going into a rant tends to get ignored.

Summing It All Up

I found the video to be so compelling that I had to do something. I hope that you feel the same way. I promise not to write about politics anymore.

My tea bags are on their way in the mail to my one Representative and my two Senators.

My bookmarks are saved in my browser. I think the first issue that I will raise in e-mail with my Congressmen will be about pay. I want to know how much I am paying them and how they feel about reducing that amount to the average pay of the constituents in their district or state.

And I think it’s only fair that I mention that I support performance raises. Their constituents can vote on their congressmen’s performance each year and also vote on what percentage increase/decrease they feel is warranted based on the performance rating scale. Let’s make this easy and do the voting online based on sufficient e-mail reminders from our representatives. We’ll work out the details later.

Did you watch the video in it’s entirety? Did you send your tea bags? Did you bookmark your representatives web page or website? Good for you! Now we’re doing something about the problems identified in the video, and we’re no longer sitting on our “bums”.

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