I have been a voter since Ronald Reagan's first term in office. I was once excited and proud to exercise my constitutional right as a citizen – I actually thought my vote could provoke change, that it actually was important – didn't you feel the same way at one point?? Over the years I, like many of you, have become disillusioned by this idea, the idea that is continually propagated during each election cycle – "your vote counts", "you have no right to complain if you don't cast your vote", that somehow, this election might be different. But we all know the truth – our votes don't matter – not as it relates to needed change. Our current system forces politicians with initially good intentions to declare an allegiance to a political party, accept influence in the form of campaign finance from special interest groups and then, once in office, expected to toe the party line when voting on bills - regardless of the merit, value or impact on us, the people, as a nation. Special interest groups and corporations hold our Congress members hostage by the wallet and have them do their bidding.
Wonder why the current "Do Nothing" Congress is losing grip on even their abysmal 8% approval rating? Of course you don't – neither do I. We've become cynics and believe in our hearts that our current political system is broken and beyond repair. The citizens of the United States have become nothing more than a spouse in an abusive relationship. Our politicians promise us good and right things – and we believe them and vote them into office and then we are slapped in the face. Surprise! What was promised during the election isn't what's delivered when they are in office. Good bills get laden with pork and damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don't "gothcha" addendums.
Of course after we've been slapped and gut-punched for a few years, our politicians apologize, as all abusers do, and promise never to do it again (during their re-election campaign) – and we believe them…and re-elect them…or new ones....and allow it to happen again, and again, and again. Like many battered spouses we try to escape except, in our political world, there's no place to go! There is no shelter, no family, no safe haven – this political house is the only place we've provided for us, the citizens, to live. It is a house in ill repair and if it were your house or my house….it would be condemned….due to infestation!
Here's what our party system has provided us with:
- Special interest money rules.
- PAC's (Political Action Committee's) led by shell corporations finance and run elections with the candidates they choose.
- Corruption, inaction and indecision is the expected norm.
- Cronyism and nepotism are simply accepted.
- Corporations are now "people" under the law.
- Congress won't/can't vote for what they know is right because another re-election is just around the corner.
- Congress won't/can't vote for what is right because they are afraid to cross party lines – or cross corporate donors.
I ask you to join me in seeking change. It this naïve? Maybe. Is it simplistic? Perhaps.
One thing I know is that CHANGING nothing, GUARANTEES nothing changes!
In the words of Thomas Paine:
"We have it in our power to begin the world over again".
And we do.
I'm not a writer, I'm not a professional politician, or petitioner, or pot-stirrer – I don't have all the answers nor do I portend to - I'm simply a person and a father and a friend wanting to share an idea. Let's start a conversation here. Let's start a conversation now. Please sign the petition and please forward to others. Let's see where this can take us. Let's demand that our Congress not only hear our voice, but listen, too.