You may have noticed that I’m not writing about political issues as much as I used to. In fact, a couple of weeks ago, I was asked about this by a fellow member of a locally-based trade association.
Maybe I’ve been doing this too long, and given other writing assignments beyond the Mike’s Comment collection, I’m experiencing some level of burnout. But, the short answer is that politics is boring and depressing.
Let’s start with the politicians themselves. The vast majority of them are deeply flawed individuals, who are also not very bright. Yet, surrounded as they are by an army of sycophants, their perception of their own value is inflated beyond measure. The depressing part is that their capacity to inflict destruction is immense.
Can you name any other field of endeavor whereby a participant can yield great power and influence, yet have absolutely no practical knowledge of the objects under his control? Granted, this seems to occur more often now in big business, but not to the appalling degree we see it in government.
Who are these people anyway? They are the same creeps who ran for office in high school, and the same annoying dweebs who want to run your PTA or homeowners’ association. Taking a page from Groucho Marx, I would have to conclude that running for office should disqualify someone for further consideration.
Why not have the candidates be limited to those invited by a rigorously screened group of “elders”? Why not, indeed? Mainly, it’s because such a system would not have so many ripe possibilities for corruption or entertainment value.
What about the electoral system itself? It is just about completely broken. Districts have been gerrymandered to virtually assure re-election of incumbents, unless that individual is flagrantly corrupt, or has been in office so long that the voters are sick of him. The modest success of the current Tea Party movement should not so much be heralded, but should rather be viewed as those few examples of the system operating on the grass roots level, as it was intended.
In other words, we should rather be reminded of how miserable things have become by these few successes.
As to the laws and regulations rammed down our collective throats all these years, the pathetic truth is that the vast majority have been complete failures. The regulatory process, for example, has degenerated into nothing more than a series of onerous burdens that inevitably favor large companies.
That’s why Wal-Mart, once the very model of an entrepreneurial company, now supports every socialist program that comes down the pike. Compliance will always be easier for the giants than for their competitors.
Meanwhile, the efforts of political commentators are disappointing, to say the least.
When Rush Limbaugh makes one or more pronouncements, we know it helps create vast wealth for him, but what good does it do for his listeners? I understand that it can rile them up, but how does that really change anything? Surely, it does help his competitors on the other side of the political spectrum, as they too can get their listeners all riled up, increase their audiences, and sell more advertising.
We already know that those on the Left—for whatever reasons—favor some form of oligarchic socialism. But what is the excuse for those on the Right and their loopy “Constitutionalism.” Have they ever actually read the document?
Article I, Section 8 gives Congress all the power it will ever need!
Here is how it starts:
The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States;
“General welfare” is pretty broad, don’t you think?
And, here’s how it ends:
[The Congress shall have Power] To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.
What little protection the citizens have resides exclusively in the Bill of Rights. We talk about the balance of powers, but you can count on the fingers of one hand the number of times your Supreme Court has limited the power of the government in any meaningful way.
Much more can be added, and perhaps I will return to this subject. As noted, though, it is already too depressing.