Alex McRae

Get the ball(s) rolling

Newton’s First Law of Motion states that “an object at rest will remain at rest unless acted on by an unbalanced force.”

It’s true. Objects don’t move by themselves. And no object is harder to move than an incumbent member of the U.S. Congress.

Congress currently has an 11 percent approval rating. Toenail fungus is more popular. Yet in the November 2012 elections, 90 percent of U.S. House members and 91 percent of senators won re-election.

Why?

Voters tell pollsters Congress stinks, but their local representative or senator is swell. The problem is, when they all get together as a group they can’t pass a hairball, much less legislation.

This is exactly what the founding fathers feared.

The United States was organized so that most government functions were handled at the state or local level.

There’s a reason. Local elected officials are more likely to know their constituents — and more likely to listen to them. They can’t hide behind unlisted phone numbers and P.O. Box addresses. Their constituents can always run them down at the coffee shop or their front door.

My state and local elected officials are always available to hear my opinions or suggestions. We may not agree on everything, but at least I get a hearing.

When’s the last time you got a U.S. representative or senator to even take your phone call? (Unless you’re calling to donate money.)

In the last thirty years, state and local power and influence have faded. The federal government now has more and more say in running citizens’ lives, while having less and less personal contact with those who elected them.

Legislation that drastically affects our health, wealth and well-being is now being passed by self-serving strangers who make D.C. their permanent home and stay there as much as possible.

It’s all about the money. New laws aren’t passed to help citizens. They are passed to benefit businesses, organizations and individuals who express their gratitude with lavish gifts and piles of campaign cash meant to keep incumbents fat, happy and on a short leash.

Of the 550 members of the House and Senate more than 370 are millionaires. Less than half of them were millionaires when first elected.

They didn’t get rich because they are thrifty, even though many Americans could get by and even nurture a small nest egg with the $175,000 (minimum) congresspersons are paid.

As elections near, every incumbent with a challenger swears he wants the system to change. Don’t believe it. Once in Washington, senators and representatives learn that power brings great pleasure. Giving up that power is the last thing they will do.

In less than one year, every seat in the House and one third of all Senate seats will be up for grabs. Maybe this time We the Peasants will pick up the pitchforks, storm the castle and send the incumbents — even the “good” ones — home to pursue a profession at which they have proven proficient.

What profession? P.J. O’Rourke called his 1991 book about the U.S. government “Parliament of Whores” for a reason.

We’re told that Congress includes a few right-minded people more concerned with their constituents than themselves. Seen one lately? Sasquatch has been sighted more often.

Voters used to say “throw the bums out.” That phrase is insulting to bums, who are more productive than Congress, and less harmful.

Congress will never function as our nation’s founders intended until its current occupants are scattered, smothered and covered in pink slips then sent home to explain why — and when — they decided their job was not public service, but personal enrichment.

(Send your email comments to: alexmmcrae@gmail.com )



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