There is a popular saying that would relate to our current environment in Congress with a little wordsmithing. It is “One bad apple can spoil the whole barrel.” For today it should read: “The whole barrel can spoil one good apple.”
Congress corrupts all who go there
While many well-intentioned candidates initially run for Congress, the barrel of elitist ideologues they are thrown into can eventually corrupt even the most altruistically minded. A great part of the problem may lie with their constituents – especially those who campaigned for them at the beginning of their careers. These hardworking volunteers often fail to realize that the candidate they believed to be their best representative in the past has changed. They don’t recognize the leprous disease that has corrupted the once altruistic into clones of the political elitist monsters that populate the halls of Congress. So like drones that are unaware of the reality cleverly hidden from them, their constituents keep voting the bums into office. The realization that their citizen representative has turned into a play-along-to-get-along career politician has escaped their minds. But they are not alone in their acceptance of delusion. The career politician seems to believe the deception that achieving the greater good is dependent on the compromise – compromise that often chips away at their once strongly held principles.
Political corruption can take many forms. There is perhaps no better example of how this can be subtly achieved than Senator Marco Rubio. From the beginning of his political career, the young man’s most notable virtue was his open mind. While he was part of the Floridian government, this trait blessed him with the ability to accomplish a myriad of admirable undertakings – simply because he listened to his constituents. After being elected to the Senate, this admirable trait was easily corrupted by the Gang of 8, leading the young Senator to believe that compromise was necessary in order to achieve some sort of lesser benefit. In Rubio’s case, he stopped listening to his constituents and started listening to the siren’ voice that whispered the elitists’ demagoguery into his impressionable ears. At that point, he became their representative instead of the representative of those who elected him.
Additionally, representatives quickly come to the realization that holding onto their job requires endless fundraising, which indebts them to special interests. This compromise further chips away at any altruistic ideals they may have had at the beginning of their careers. William Shakespeare identified this process when he wrote: “Men grow sourest by their deeds. Lilies that fester smell far worse than weeds.” And indeed, many of the sweet smelling lilies that are initially voted into office turn into some of our country’s most odoriferous weeds. Often the decline can be charted on scorecards that record a representative’s conservative status, such as published by Heritage Action or Citizens Against Government Waste.
Corruption, civil and criminal
Sometimes corruption can be tracked in scorecards, other times it crosses from the absurd and disappointing into the criminal realm. And even when it does, these career politicians are so secure in their positions that regardless of their criminal behavior, they are re-elected. Perhaps the best examples of re-electing career politicians that have defied reasoning, are Representative Charles Rangel, who was elected in 1970 and was censured by the House for ethics violations amidst reports of tax evasion but was still re-elected; Representative Don Young, who was elected in 1973 and is famous for his Bridge to Nowhere; and Senator Thad Cochran, elected in 1978, and awarded the title of “The King of Earmarks” by Citizens Against Government Waste. Notice that two of these particular men have held office for over 40 years and the third is fast approaching that mark.
When our Founders wrote the Constitution, they created two-year terms for Congressional Representatives and six-year terms for Senators. Unfortunately, they never saw the necessity for limiting the number of terms a representative could serve. They believed that people would serve their country and then go back home to live among their constituents and under the laws they created. Never in their wildest imagination did they anticipate that men like now deceased Daniel Inouye, John Dingell, Robert Byrd, and Carl Hayden would hold onto their offices for well over a half of a century. In so doing, such “representatives” amassed power that turned them into elitists out of touch with the people they are supposed to be representing. In reality, they are well-financed bums that are nearly impossible to defeat in a fair election, which is almost an oxymoron these days.
Throw the bums out
While we may not have constitutional protection against such rogues at this point, we can in the future if we amend the Constitution to include term limits for Congress. Imagine how such an amendment would clean our House. However, you can be certain that these bums who have become quite adept at getting re-elected will not be willing to do that on their own accord. Therefore, it can only be accomplished through an Article V Convention of the States (see www.ConventionofStates.com). And I would encourage those who fear that such a convention would jeopardize our beloved Constitution, to realize that we are living in a post-Constitutional era where fear of losing what is already lost may serve as a stumbling block to restoring what is already lost. As we debate who will be the next president or what they will or can’t accomplish, our attention is diverted from the feckless Congress that we have empowered. Instead of being part of our check and balance system, they have become a bureaucratic stonewall brazen enough to assert itself against the voice of our citizens. If nothing else, this presidential campaign season has revealed the extent of their elitism. When a multi-billionaire has to bow down to the GOP establishment in order to be elected, it should serve as proof that we don’t have a two-party system but a two-party cabal with a power base that has enabled them to usurp the sovereignty of the people.
In the meantime, we must exercise whatever ability we have left to throw the bums out on Election Day. Unfortunately, that requires awareness on the part of the people – an awareness that keeps people, people – and not sheeple. All too often voters believe that it’s the other guy’s representative that is shady – not theirs. This belief has gone a long way into transforming them into the unaware sheeple (myself included) that have allowed this political charade to continue. Perhaps a rule of thumb should be a maximum of four terms for the House of Representatives and two terms for the Senate. But once again, I am displaying delusional characteristics, since I fully understand that it is nearly impossible for any newcomer to unseat an established politician. Still, I cannot help but daydream about the day when the American people muster up the courage to throw the bums out. But I fear the day our Founders wrote about in the Declaration of Independence has already come – when the long train of abuses and usurpations reducing us to absolute despotism, demands that we act upon our right and declare that it is our duty to throw off such government. For as things stand today, there can be no peace, no safety, no liberty of conscious for those who are content to perpetuate the status quo. And the status quo that they perpetuate is about to enslave us all. May God have mercy on America.
Reprinted from The Daily Rant, copyright 2016 Mychal Massie. Used by permission.
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