Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Our Problem is Politics

Is anyone else tired of politics? Has anyone else noticed that most politicians, on both sides of the aisle, are more concerned about being reelected than they are about doing what is right for their constituents and our country? Has anyone else noticed that many politicians attempt to use religion and personal beliefs about god to placate troubled citizens while they do next to nothing to solve the issues that got us to where we are now? Has anyone noticed that politicians frequently say one thing, and then do the exact opposite? I, for one, am tired of politics and politicians.

Our infrastructure is crumbling, schools are being closed down and teachers laid off, police, EMS and firefighters are losing their jobs, and medical benefits to the elderly and destitute are at risk of being slashed. All the while, corporations and banks are being given vast amounts of leeway and assistance when they were the entities that recklessly contributed to our national troubles. Our politicians spend entirely too much time on issues like abortion and gay marriage, as if those are really the important issues. We have politicians, like Texas Governor Rick Perry, holding divisive Christian prayer events claiming that prayer to Jesus is the only way we are going to get out of the mess we are in. While I don't agree with everything Bill Maher says, he hit it right on the head last week when he said, "May I point out that there is no such thing as 'spiritual' solutions to national problems. If our official government policy is 'Yeehaw, Jesus take the wheel!', then we're dead already." Governing officials should not be relying on prayer to solve our problems and instead should focus on making the difficult, real, and often unpopular, decisions that may actually accomplish something.

I hope that one day a politician will come onto the scene who will stand up for what is right, will not be owned by a corrupt political party or a corporation, and will focus on solving our problems instead of focusing on being reelected. This politician would probably raise taxes, not just on the rich, but on those who use the services provided by the government as well, while also reducing spending in some areas. If everyone contributed, even a little bit, the budget deficit could be drastically reduced in a relatively short period of time. Instead of cutting funding for education, the EPA, organizations like Planned Parenthood, police, firefighters and other first responders, this politician would prioritize closing corporate tax loopholes, create new taxes on corporations who outsource jobs, lessen our funding of other countries governments and programs, and strengthen government regulations on banking, insurance and other corporate entities. This politician would focus on rebuilding our infrastructure, preparing communities for natural disasters, supporting education and ensuring that the government upholds its commitment to equality by not using his/her personal beliefs about the supernatural to discriminate against entire segments of the population.

The idea that the corporations and mega-banks that have such a large impact on our economy should have free reign to do as they please (aka make vast amounts of profit while selling out the American people) without government regulation is absurd and dangerous. I think the financial catastrophes of the last 30+ years are evidence of this. Yet our politicians are purchased by large corporations to legislate in their favor on a regular basis and in the process of doing so, they also sell out the American people. Politicians take advantage of culturally sensitive issues, like gay marriage, abortion and contraception, in order to distract their constituents from the real issues that actually affect them. It is difficult, if not impossible, to make the argument that gay marriage will have any affect on heterosexual marriage, yet if you listen to some politicians and conservative pundits you would be led to believe that this issue alone was our most important.

What we need is a strong, independent, moderate candidate; someone who does not answer to the democratic or republican party but instead answers to the American people. What we need is someone who values critical thinking and reason instead of blind faith. We need someone who isn't owned by giant corporations and doesn't use their personal religious beliefs as a tool to distract their constituents from the real issues. I know this is asking a lot and that it probably will not happen, but one can hope. The way we can attempt to make this a reality is by critically assessing our current politicians and stop buying into the malarkey being fed to us. While our issues are complex, that doesn't necessarily mean the solutions have to be complex. It also doesn't mean, as Gov. Perry believes, that we are unable to handle them on our own and need Jesus to come save us.

Politicians are supposed to work for us, not against us and it is time we hold them to that. It is time for people to start voting in their best interest, and not for the politicians and political parties that have consistently let them down. Let me know what you think and if you have anything to add.

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