Political Theater Redux: The Debt Ceiling

Posted: August 1, 2011 in My moral code, Politics
Tags: , , , ,

Aside from a few overly-dogmatic Tea Partiers, did anyone really think that the US would actually default on it’s debt obligations? No. Of course not. We all knew that the government would come up with some sort of deal at the last minute. Admittedly. few thought that it would be quite THIS last minute. But, the likelihood that we would default on out debt to China or would not pay out Social Security was minimal.

So, if we knew there’d be a deal; and we new that it would be a compromise, then we have to ask what all the bullshit is about. Why do we have to watch the bickering among politicians and pundits on every news broadcast? Why is it on the front page of the New York Times and Wall Street Journal every day? To me, the answer is simple. Not a single person in the House or Senate really cares about the American people. Yes, I know some of them in both parties and, yes, I tend to like them when I meet them. But thinking someone is a nice guys and thinking that they give a damn about anything except themselves are two different things. I don’t see any reason to believe that anyone in Washington cares about me, or you, or any of their constituents; and I think the Debt Ceiling issues proves it out (again).

Think about this. Suppose you want to run for the office of President. How much will it cost to build a staff, run a campaign, and advertise? Easy – more than anyone I know (except a couple CEOs and a few of my lawyer friends) will ever have. What this means is that virtually no one without an enormous ego and a ton of money will even have the financial capacity to run. In other words, if you can actually relate to normal, ordinary, middle class people, there is no way you could ever have the money to run for office. So, you can say anything you want about we poor little folks and how much you want us to succeed, but there is no possibility that you even know what it feels like to be one of us. So, why would you pretend to care about us? Easy, again: so, we’ll vote for you and you can nourish your ego with POWER.

Now, the best way to get power is by getting votes. The best way to get votes is to appear committed to your special interests. The best way to appear committed is to argue your point up to the very last minute and then, during election season, blame other people. That is about getting elected and retaining power. It’s not about negotiating and it’s not about caring for your constituents. It’s about YOU. I’m a pretty hardcore individualist and I think it’s perfectly fine to care about yourself and to put yourself first. BUT NOT to lie to everyone else by pretending you have an alternative agenda. If you want to look out for yourself first, then don’t say you are looking out for me. Be proud, be selfish, fine. But HAVE INTEGRITY. That is what no one in Washington has.

So, what would I like to see, then? Easy, once more. If you have a vision for the country, state it. If you have a philosophy, explain it. if you think your vision is the best way for the country to function, tell me why. If you think you are the best person to defend our constitution, try READING IT. Once you have done those things, clearly and articulately, then step back and read the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. Pay close attention to the habits about which you currently care the least: “Seek first to Understand, Then to be understood” and “Think Win-Win”. Of course, if you cared about being productive you wouldn’t have gone into government; so I’m fantasizing. But at least do something other than bicker and try to get the most TV time. I know, I’m delusional again, but that’s what I’d like to see; even if it will never happen.

All of this comes down to one thing: Theater. Politicians don’t care about other’s, they care about themselves. Politicians don’t care about ethics, they care about dogma. Politicians don’t care about the the middle class, they care about maximizing their power to control the middle class. Anything else is just an act; just good old political theater. It used to be fun to watch the game. No longer.

Now it’s just nauseating.

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