Why the People are to Problem
Last week Patriotslog published an article about the new California voting system in which I stated why I believe that the people, not the government are the biggest problem in this country. There has been feedback from readers wondering why I feel this way? If I had to say why the people are the problem in one sentence it would be the old saying that we want to have our cake and eat it too. We want it all, and we want it now. An article titled “Why Women Still Can’t Have it All” makes national headlines as if that statement is a revelation; as if that should shock some people or create a grassroots political movement that demands change. Guess what? Nobody can have it all, no matter who you are. The idea that we think we should, or even that we can at all, is the fundamental root of the problem.
For example; everyone in the country, I take that back, the world knows our Federal deficits are killing America and holding our country back. Everyone in the whole world knows we have to at least attempt to balance the budgets, and everyone in the country universally agrees that it is time to do it. So why is it not happening? The debt limit cat fight, the super partisan committee, and treating Simpson-Bowles like a red headed step-child would make the plot for the perfect sitcom about the dysfunctionality of government; except I am American, so I am not laughing. This is my country being destroyed.
The real reason we cannot (and I do mean cannot) cut spending and balance the budget is the same reason we could
not pass the Civil Rights Act for decades: the people, not the government, have to change. I have had hundreds of conversations with people all across the country who demand that we cut spending, but when the discussion turns to how we cut spending, nobody has any answers. We want our federal programs, but we do not want to pay for them. Everyone wants crop subsidies, welfare, infrastructure, strong defense, student loans and Pell grants, higher teacher and law enforcement salaries, and social security, but we do not want to have to pay the taxes required to keep them running.
The presidential campaign is a perfect example of this. Last year Social Security paid out more in benefits then it took in for the first time ever. Everyone hears about Medicare and Medicaid going broke, but the government still does nothing about it. Why? Because we the people will not let them. President Obama and Paul Ryan have each proposed cuts to Medicare to keep them solvent. Now we see each campaign emphatically pointing the finger at the other for cutting Medicare and hurting retirees. Each campaign is on the defensive, insisting they will not cut Medicare. Every independent expert agrees that we must cut Medicare, but we the people will not let that happen. When retiree programs were designed for a draw-out beginning at 65, the life expectancy was about 68. We still have a system which draws benefits at 65, but life expectancy is now around 80. Even European budget experts can see the financial repercussions of that.
We the people demand transparency and security from government. We complain when the government is too opaque, and demand more transparency, then complain about security leaks when we learn about Bin Laden dying, or the Stuxnet virus. We claim we want to know about the CIA assassination program, but we obviously do not want terrorist attacks. If the terrorists know who is on the CIA hit list, they know exactly who they should not send to carry out an attack.
Americans love their political parties, and then complain when nothing gets done. We demand that our representatives stand firm to their convictions, then give Congress the lowest approval rating in our lifetime for refusing to compromise. Demanding, or even just supporting rigid political ideas guarantees that we will have Congressional gridlock. It is asking our government to drive two ways down a one way street. Now we are left to clean up the 50 state pile up. Political parties by nature view the other party as competition. When political parties compete, America loses. It is no coincidence that as the political rhetoric centers around what is best for the party, what is best for our country rarely gets done. If Americans would learn the value of compromise the government would be better able to meet the needs of the people, not he parties.
Americans demand the freedom of speech be upheld, then support local governments who refuse to let Chick-fil-a open a restaurant because of their expression of free speech. The First Amendment was not written on a case by case basis. Americans cannot support freedom of speech only when they agree with the expression. It is cancerous to our rights for Rosanne Barr to hope people get cancer because she disagrees with them.
Constituents love when their elected officials “bring home the bacon”. We want federal money in our states and districts; more money opens up more opportunities. The problem is that we also want to cut spending. For Congress to truly cut spending we have to discourage them from spending money; even if it is for us. I cannot help but laugh at how many people want to have term limits, but love the extra federal money their representatives bring home. The longer a Congressman has been in office the more influence they have over federal spending. We cannot ask them to bring home money, and then demand a term limit when they spend too much money. Does it make sense for a parent to always give their child fast food, then get angry when the kid gets too fat to fit in their pants?
Americans love being right, and we have a hard time admitting we are wrong. We watch Fox News or MSNBC propaganda shows so that we can have our pre-conceived notions confirmed–even if they are wrong. Any facts that dispute our political beliefs or desires we ignore in favor of the biased filtered information we can get from Rush Limbaugh or Rachel Maddow. We refuse to consider that what we believe is not the truth, and we are insulted when someone suggests we should do the research ourselves. We take our political pundits at their word even though their word is designed to please us so they can make money. This cognitive dissonance leads to us following the political parties, accepting what they do, rather than us doing for ourselves. Our government was set up for a people who would act, not be acted upon. We want to be right; there are only two entities that are always right: God, whom, no matter how hard politicians try, is not running for election…and puppets. Since none of you reading this are God (shocking I know, but my audience is no quite so esteemed) that makes us puppets. Without the truth, without our own information, we have no will to act on our own and we allow the government to act upon us.
Like most dysfunctional families, America needs more than one therapy session; but let us use this as a start. Nothing of significance, whether it be an idea, product, business, career, or especially a country, has ever been built or created without great sacrifice. I bet you cannot prove me wrong. It takes hard work, sacrifice, diligence, and conviction to fix these problems. We will have to realize that cutting the deficit means forgoing some of our perks. Fixing problems means we will have to be willing to admit we are wrong. Ending gridlock means we cannot have everything we want out of government. There is a fine, definite line between transparency and security. And we have to respect others rights, and have a little civility and dignity when we disagree with each other. These are not governments problems; these are your problems and my problems.
23 August 2012
Posted on August 24, 2012, in Patriotslog Articles, Politics and tagged california voting, deficit, democrats, earmarking, entitlements, freedom of speech, government, grid lock, medicaid, medicare, medicare reform, political parties, politics, pork barrel spending, red headed step child, republicans, tax cuts, tax hikes, taxes, welfare. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.