Monday, September 29, 2008

This is kind of a lecture

For all the talk of "change" at the Presidential level, can we maybe get a little bit more at the Congressional level? Seriously...these people can't do anything right. Even when they are doing the right thing (like, say, asking a few questions before they sign off on Bush's financial aid package) they manage to fuck it up somehow (like, say, by bitching about it for a week, convincing everyone that the world will implode if they don't get a bill passed, and cram some shoddy piece of garbage together at the last minute and hope they can guilt each other into voting for it).

Congressmen almost never lose their job. Senators rarely do, and Representatives basically have to commit a felony in order to lose their re-election. The entire system is set up to protect incumbents...and why wouldn't it be? Republicans and Democrats disagree on a lot, but they all like their jobs and want to make it as hard as possible for any of them to lose. And that is how we get laws like the one that says a TV or radio station can't run a negative piece of commentary about an incumbent within 30 days of an election (I am not sure that is an actual law, but it was part of the last campaign finance proposal). How is that constitutional?

And it is the fault of all of us, too. How much effort do you really put into voting for your members of Congress? You probably know who at least one of your Senators is, but do you know who your rep is? My guess is that a grossly large portion of Americans do not. And, identifying what that person stands for? Forget about it. Actually...I can tell you what he or she stands for. They stand for being re-elected and for being advanced within the Congressional leadership of their party. Nothing else really counts that much.

Everyone knows about Congress' problems. In fact, as much as people dislike George Bush, his approval rating is nearly DOUBLE that of Congress. Imagine being only half as good at your job as George Bush!!!!!

If you are a voting American (sorry Brandy;-)), then your Representative is up for re-election. If you live in one of these states, then one of your Senators is up for re-election. You owe it to yourself and to everyone else to cast an informed vote in those races. I am not asking you to spend as much time on that as you do the Presidential race. I just think we would all be better off if we could answer just a couple of simple questions...Do I like my Senator and/or my Rep? Why? Do I know two or three things that he/she really stands for? Who is running against him/her, and is there any reason to think I would like them better?

Honestly, this is like a half-hour long process, tops. Heck, you could call their campaign offices and say "In two minutes, tell me why I should vote for him/her." Actually, to be really honest, if you called your Congressman's office, there is a chance that you could get the actual Rep to call you back...these races are small enough that they can do that.

I don't think we all need to be deeply versed in the minutia of Congressional records. I just feel like you should know why you are voting for someone come election day, and not just the President.


Anonymous said...

crap. i don't even know who the mayor of my town is.

Aaron said...

Basically: If you vote Democrat or Republican this election (IT DOES NOT MATTER WHO), then chances are, you're continuing to contribute to this mess.

Ys said...

The American political system confuses me a bit but it sounds sort of similar to what would be our local MP's. Thankfully I do know who my local one is; and I saw her when I was walking in town the other day, funnily enough!

Accidentally Me said...

KT - LOL...towns don't have mayors. Cities have mayors and towns have Board's of Selectmen (or something like that).

Aaron - I don't think that is entirely true. Whoever you vote for, if you don't hold them accountable for anything, it doesn't matter whether they are from any party at all. We have to recognize our share in the blame...we are the ones who keep sending them back.

Ys - Not real sure...The Federal Gov't has three equal branches. The President heads the Executive Branch, the Supreme Court heads the Judicial branch and the Congress heads the legislative branch. Congress makes all of the laws, the President enforces them, and the Court interprets them.

Congress has two houses...the Senate, where every state gets 2 Senators, and the House, where every state gets represented based on its population (total of 435 Reps). California has 53 Reps, seven states have only 1.

Make some sense?