Tuesday, January 6, 2015

The new Republican-controlled Congress gets revved-up today. Big fat hairy deal, as Garfield would say. Those expecting CHANGE!, those expecting a house cleaning, those expecting ANYthing other than business as usual are either (a.) tragically, perennially idealistic; (b.) delusional; or (c.) stupid; and they are all (d.) destined to be disappointed. Call my cynical. But you can also call me right.

To get elected to office, any office, takes money. If it’s a big office, the office of a Congressman, for example, it takes a LOT of money. Money that is supplied by special interest groups. Special interest groups that are expecting to be repaid for their investments. And since the politician intends to run for RE-election when the time comes and thus will be needing MORE money, he has to keep his special interests happy. So he sells out. His principles. His constituents. His soul? Depends.
The only difference between a Democrat and a Republican is the particular people they have sold out to. The ones with their hands on the purse strings. And what about US, the common citizenry? We are left to either (a.) do the Captain Picard face palm and sigh with weary resignation; or (b.) fall in line with the sheeple who listen to the loudmouth pundits, letting them convince us this is a war of good against evil (with whichever political party you they favor being the white hats and the opposing party playing the heel) and either cheer that our team is in control or lament that our side is on the defensive. And then (c.) in a couple of years, when all the idealists have had enough time to get good and disillusioned with the current crop of the same-old, same-old, we’ll do the whole messy dance over again. It’s a gain of musical chairs, with the Donkeys and the Elephants taking turns at disappointing the American people. The only ones who ever get what they want are the purse-stringers.  And the politicians, if they’re good enough lap dogs, get to keep their jobs.

I kinda feel sorry for the honest politicians out there, with “honest” being a relative term. The game forces them to become compromised, to the point that even the ones who go into it with good intentions soon have to learn to juggle between serving the public good and keeping the gravy tap flowing. It’s the same as being a car salesman. The very nature of the process does not allow a person to remain completely honest.
It’s a lousy system, no question. What’s sad is that it’s the best system human beings have ever been able to come up with, and the best they ever will. And those of us not swallowing the tripe spoon-fed to us by the loudmouths, those of us who really get it, the face-palmers—we have to work with what we have. Live with the squeaky, rusty, dysfunctional system and the compromised officials we elected because the kind of person we’d really want in office could never in a bazillion years GET elected, and hope the current crop of cronies can manage to keep it between the lines.
All that being said, there are some issues that shouldn’t BE political issues at all. The environment, for example. Should be a common sense subject. A public health subject. It isn’t, because the ones doing the polluting, they’re stuffing money into the pockets of the politicians. And the loudmouths on TV have convinced their sheep that the other side, the “bad guys,” are just out to wreck the economy with their “needless” oversight and restrictions. The “bad guys” want to take their jobs away. Which is exactly what the big polluters WANT people to believe. That way THEY get to keep screwing the little guy and wallowing in all the money they’re stealing from him.
Take that argument about the environment and apply it to any one of several topics. The bottom line is always the same. Those with the big money are not interested in the common man. They are interested in making more money. And the politicians have no choice but to cow down to them. What can the public do? If the politician in office screws us over too bad, we can vote him out. And elect some other crony we hope won’t screw us over to the same extent. That’s the system, folks. And it’s the best we’ve got.
I don’t really have a big point to make. Just thinking out loud, with keystrokes. Reading the news headlines about how the new Congress may approve the Keystone Pipeline. They know better. They know this pipeline is not really in the public’s best interest. But the fat-cats are yanking on those purse strings. I hope the new cronies will have enough spleen not to sell us out on this one. Gas prices are down, so there’s SOME hope. Fewer sheep bleating over how much they’re having to pay at the gas pump, believing the answer to the problem is just to drill for more oil and refine more gas, when in reality that would only INCREASE the problem. And increase the money the polluters have to stuff into their bank accounts.
Anyway, it should be quite a show, for those who enjoy watching such things. Me, I’m gonna go watch some paint dry. Anybody care to join me?