Sunday, August 28, 2011

Who Can We Trust?

Any family therapist will tell you that trust is at the foundation of all healthy and successful relationships.  A quick survey will reveal that this theory extends far beyond marriage and family.  Most folks also have trusted friends, but who do you trust when it comes to business?  Do you trust your doctor?  Your mechanic?  Your CPA?  Your bank?  How about our government?

Most Americans will answer "yes" to most of the trust questions above.  A person would be foolish to hire these people if they didn't trust them.  The lone exception to "yes" above is the question about our government.  Most Americans will be quick to tell you that they have little or no trust in our government.  Yet, we continue to hire these people and do business with them.  What's wrong with this picture?

It's an interesting conundrum (or "con" for short) that the American voters consistently hire the most trustworthy individual politicians on the ballot to represent us in our government, and yet the American people have little or no trust in the government as a whole.  Could it be that we have been so enamored by election promises and political charisma that we have been overlooking our reality?  Have we been conned into believing that we can truly trust either the right or the left to save our nation's government from an inevitable crash & burn?    

This is nothing new.  In 1985 columnist Charley Reese of the Orlando Sentinel stated: 
Don't you see how the con game is played on the people by the politicians? Those 545 human beings spend much of their energy convincing you that what they did is not their fault. They cooperate in this common con regardless of party. (italics added)

What separates a politician from a normal human being is an excessive amount of gall. No normal human being would have the gall of Tip O'Neill, who stood up and criticized Ronald Reagan for creating deficits.

The president can only propose a budget. He cannot force the Congress to accept it. The Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land, gives sole responsibility to the House of Representatives for originating appropriations and taxes.

O'neill is the speaker of the House. He is the leader of the majority party. He and his fellow Democrats, not the president, can approve any budget they want. If the president vetos it, they can pass it over his veto.

WAKE UP, AMERICA!!!  Political leadership has consistently swung like a pendulum, from right to left, over and back again throughout our nation's history.  While we have deemed individual politicians as trustworthy, our elected government employees have robbed us equally for decades as a whole.  Aside from basic equal rights reforms, what significant changes have our elected government employees  made over the past 50 years towards our nation's overall welfare and happiness?  Why is it that a “poor” family is able to enjoy a better standard of living today than if mom and dad both went to work for minimum wage?  

In 2003, Senator Robert Byrd was quoted as saying, "If the voters really understood what we were up to, they’d vote us out of office."  It is important to note that Senator Byrd did not specify any partisan affiliation in his statement. 

So who can we trust?

While we may trust one another personally, the American people certainly do not trust each other politically.  Although our nation is currently faced with unprecedented challenges, theatrical pride and arrogance from both major parties have have effectively divided our nation.   As long as the American people are focused on these divisive issues, we are not scrutinizing their activity or holding them accountable for their actions.  In short, we are giving our elected government employees free reign to rule over our lives. 
To secure their reign, our elected government employees continue to behave like 2 children in the same room that are each playing "house" separately rather than playing together.  Like classic co-dependents, we, the people, have enabled, condoned, and even joined in on this counterproductive "parallel playing." 

So who can we trust? 

In his 1985 article, Charley Reese went on to say:
It seems inconceivable to me that a nation of 235 million cannot replace 545 people who stand convicted -- by present facts - of incompetence and irresponsibility.

I can't think of a single domestic problem, from an unfair tax code to defense overruns, that is not traceable directly to those 545 people.

When you fully grasp the plain truth that 545 people exercise power of the federal government, then it must follow that what exists is what they want to exist.

If the tax code is unfair, it's because they want it unfair. If the budget is in the red, it's because they want it in the red. If the Marines are in Lebanon, it's because they want them in Lebanon.

There are no insoluble government problems. Do not let these 545 people shift the blame to bureaucrats, whom they hire and whose jobs they can abolish; to lobbyists, whose gifts and advice they can reject; to regulators, to whom they give the power to regulate and from whom they can take it.

Above all, do not let them con you into the belief that there exist disembodied mystical forces like "the economy," "inflation" or "politics" that prevent them from doing what they take an oath to do.

Those 545 people and they alone are responsible. They and they alone have the power. They and they alone should be held accountable by the people who are their bosses - provided they have the gumption to manage their own employees.

So who can we trust?  

In 1776 Thomas Jefferson observed that "History has shown us that people will tend to remain complacent, often tolerating a lifetime of fractional ongoing governmental abuses, rather than taking the action needed to change the offending government, 

But when a government consistently violates the trust of the people by diluting, compromising, and challenging their rights, it is the right of the people to protect themselves from such hostilities. It is the duty of the people to move beyond their frustration at this point, and to take responsible action, de-authorizing the offending government and providing new safeguards for their future security."  (Paraphrased - Modern English Translation)

Can we trust ourselves to put aside our political differences for the sake of our nation?  Can we trust ourselves to move beyond our frustration, to take responsible action,  to de-authorize our offending government and provide new safeguards for our future security?  

If we can't trust ourselves, who can we trust?    

Brian Buckta
103 S. State St.
La Farge, WI  54639
(608) 625-6372 / cell (608) 606-2062

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