Doing the Right Thing Politically

“Like most of my colleagues, I promise my constituents a lot of stuff I can never deliver. But what the hell? If it makes them happy hearing it, and they’re stupid enough to believe it, shame on them…Forget public service… [It’s] all about self-service and selfish survival…If raising money is critical to getting reelected, so is spending taxpayers’ money to reward those who help get us reelected.”

― Congressman X, The Confessions of Congressman X

“[A]ll members of Congress should be required wear NASCAR uniforms. You know, the kind with the patches? That way we’d know who is sponsoring each of them… [T]hey’d never…do it but it’s a great idea and would wake people up in this country.”

― Brad Thor

It’s refreshing to hear the truth, even if it comes from a liar. I say liar because X is; he tells his local constituants he will represent their interests all the while knowing he will only serve himself and the interests of his true masters, those who financially fund his campaigns and expect payback. We shouldn’t be agaspingly shocked to learn this, it’s quite within the American Dream to want to be rich and/or powerful. Most who are have found differing ways but some have found it easier through politics than honest work.

There are – have to be – some politicians who honestly try to represent the interests of the people. But what people is the question. Forgetting those they’re financially beholding to, are they only the people of the district or state that elected them or is it the nation as a whole (what is good for the many, not just the few)?

That historic great member of the British Parliament and political philosopher Edmund Burke said (substituting “Congress” for “Parliment” and “District/State” for their divisions), “Congress should not be a congress of ambassadors from different and hostile interests… [whose] interests must [be] maintain[ed], as an agent and advocate, against other agents and advocates; but Congress is a deliberative assembly of one nation, with one interest, that of the whole, where, not local purposes, not local prejudices, ought to guide, but the general good, resulting from the general reason of the whole…You choose a member, indeed; but when you have chosen him, he is not a member of a Congressional District/State, but he is a member of Congress.” Members of Congress should not merely represent the interests of their local constituants or political party over the interests of the nation and its citizens, as a whole. 

Likewise, our first president, George Washington, in his Farewell Address at the end of his presidency, warned against allowing one “faction” or one party to dominate. And we now have a government of one dominant party in all three branches – the Congress, Presidency, and Supreme Court. And within that party, one faction – the ultra-conservatives (the Tea Party-ists and their fellow travelers) – dominates that party. But taken together, all as one “faction”, we have governance along party lines not in consideration of the majority and the common welfare. (To be fair, when the other party – which is dominated by the ultra-liberals – are in control, the same thing happens.)

So it was refreshing to see last Friday one representative, Senator John McCain, a Republican, going against the interests of his party and its leaders and their financial backer’s wishes, to be the deciding vote against the conservative attempt to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act – that enables tens of thousands of Americans to have health care insurance they otherwise couldn’t get or afford – with something draconian less.

McCain joined Senators Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins (both Republicans) to be one of those rare representatives that (in this instance) honestly represented the interest of the people, not just that of their constituency, or their party dictates, but of all people, the nation.

And if we could put patches on the clothes of our representives to show who they really are serving, McCain, Murkowski and Collins would have last Friday been conspicuously wearing – prominently above any other patches – the American Flag.

– Bill


4 thoughts on “Doing the Right Thing Politically

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