Musings on Government

Not surprisingly, I read a lot of post-apocalyptic fiction, and much of that includes the epilogue of starting over, of creating a new society and, by extension, a new government.

Without exception, each of these new societies and their various forms of government are, respectively, more independent and smaller, more simplistic. Assuming, of course, that the underdogs, the champions of the people, are the winners and haven’t been annihilated.

Of course, one is always left to wonder if, in another 200 years or so, things haven’t devolved into what they once represented.

I’m not going to even mention the office of the presidency, let alone the current occupant of that office, but suffice it to say that I believe a president should be smart, organized, educated, sympathetic, hard-working, and always keep the will of the people and their best interests front and center.

You know, like Danny Glover in the movie “2012.”

That said, I also believe that our senators, all 100 of them representing every state, should have all those same qualities and attributes. Will they be perfect? No. Will they have made mistakes over the years, either before or while holding office? Yes. Should we hold them to whatever those mistakes were, particularly the ones that occurred decades ago? Maybe. Or maybe not. All humans make mistakes, all can change.

There are 435 members in the House of Representatives. That’s roughly one representative for every 750,000 people. I defy you to be able to make nearly one million people happy. Please see above for descriptions of the presidency and senators. Ditto.

Why do people run for office? Power? Shorter work weeks? The thrill of holding office? Money-making opportunities? Book deals? Speaking gigs?

I suppose many or all of these things could be considered perks, but the abiding and most prominent reason should be broken down to one thing: helping people, or more specifically, helping those who elected you to represent them and their interests.

This could, certainly, complicate matters because helping one’s state can often also be of help to its people, but often not—sometimes helping one’s state means only assisting that state’s government.

Perhaps we should administer a test and psychological exam to anyone wishing to run for federal office, along with a polygraph, to determine their true intentions. I don’t think it’s really a terrible idea.

Let’s touch upon the passage of certain bills and laws: people often get up in arms about a certain bill that proposes infringement of freedoms or one that, again for example, marginalizes a certain group. Cutting funds, perhaps, to a veterans’ program—regardless, what the average person doesn’t know is that there are OTHER things in that bill, commonly called “pork,” that are being slid right past the eyes and ears of most Americans. That, my friends, is wrong. On so many levels.

But this is how politicians work—you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours. Watch any politics-based TV show or movie and you’ll see how this works. Hell, read a book, fiction or non-fiction, and you’ll see the same thing. “I’ll vote for this, if you include ABC or XYZ.” Sometimes, even, a good thing is accomplished and hidden inside.

Before you go off on what supposed law has been implemented, read the damn bill. And then know that this bullshit is wrong. If you’re going to write a law that says one must stop at a red light, don’t try to slide in something totally unrelated, like “all people must stop using plastic bags.”

I’m going to zip back up to those “mistakes” I mentioned earlier. When I was about 8, I stole a roll of Lifesavers. That was a mistake; I knew it when I did it, I knew it when I begged my dad to take me back into the store, and I didn’t eat those damn candies for a month because I just knew God was going to make me choke on one because I’d stolen them.

Yeah, I was a little tightly wound…

Now flash forward to when I was 38. Do you think I was a thief? No. I never stole another thing. But suppose someone heard about my 8-year-old self and the Lifesavers—would they be right not to trust me around candy? Don’t be ridiculous. Would they be right not to trust me say, driving a car? Nope. So why the hell do we hold politicians to different standards, such as perhaps what they may or may not have done in college, two or three decades prior? I surely hope you see how silly this is.

One more thing: money. Why in the world should it be so expensive to run for office? Why does it take so many staffers to promote one candidate? The one with the most people on payroll this election season has 300 people working on the campaign. Full timers.

THIS right here, is what upsets the playing field and why the vast majority of regular Americans will never run for office—and who are they all running for? Regular Americans. Something is clearly out of whack here.

If you were able to make changes to any of these things, what would you do?

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