We Americans watched the President deliver the "State of the Union" speech anxious to hear what he had to say about how things are going and what needs to get done to make things better. I doubt if it made much difference to us which party you happen to be in - we all wanted to hear something good. We were hoping to hear that things are going to get better. We were hoping to hear that our leaders were finally starting to listen to us and start delivering on the change they had been promising since the campaigns of 2 years ago.
We did not get it. Instead of hearing that they understood the message of New Jersey, Virginia and Massachusetts, we heard the President attempt to put a new face on his agenda, make the same promises he made before and continue to push programs that the majority of Americans have demonstrated over and over we just do not like, do not trust and do not want.
For example: We tell congress, "Yes, we want Health Care Reform which will do something about the ridiculous increases in costs and the restrictions which, while making it more profitable for the insurance companies, make it increasingly difficult for us to get or afford health insurance. What do they do? They come up with 2000 plus pages of legislation that overhauls the entire system, makes it impossible to understand and does not make the system easier or cheaper - just more complicated and more expensive.
The Democrats, being in the majority, have set the agenda for congress and have proposed legislation which we, as a people, believe spends money we just do not have. The Republicans run around complaining about being kept out of the process and figuring out ways to block legislation. Each side points at the other and cries out that no one is willing to "reach across the isle" and cooperate. It is the same political gridlock we, the people, have been angry about all along. Both sides tell us that we need change and we need transparency in government but then they go into closed meetings, make back room deals, accept contributions from lobbyists and then agree to pass legislation that rises the debt still further.
The President stood there and in his State of the Union speech and told us what he thinks needs to be done to make things better. He gives one hell of a good speech. The problem is that it was the same things he has been saying since he first asked us to vote for him.
He says we need to end "earmarks" and he wants to put them on the web for everyone to see. Good Idea -but - he has said that before. Why hasn't it happened? Why doesn't the President just refuse to sign bills with earmarks in them? That would end them quick enough.
He pointed out and bragged about not having raised taxes one dime. He does not say that the reason is because the proposed health care bill and the 'cap and trade' bill have not been passed yet.
He says they will only tax people and business that make over $250,000 a year so the majority of us will not be effected. Really? Just what do you think will happen when those businesses have to pay higher taxes? Do you think those costs are going to be absorbed by the benevolent rich - hell no. The costs will simply be passed back to us in the form of fees and higher prices (and the sad thing is, we all know it!).
The President says he wants to put a 'freeze on spending". Good Idea? Yes, except that he fails to point out that he wants to freeze programs where he just finished increasing the budget of by over 20% That's not saving any money!
It's all just smoke and mirrors. Our government, both parties, just don't seem to get it. Either that, or they have a real contempt for the 'voting public'. They seem to think that we don't get it.
Over the past few months I have watched as the voters sent messages to congress that we do get it, and we don't like it. I have heard the people going to rallies and writing letters and getting involved in the political process like never before. They do get it.
We may not all agree on the best way to get things changed, but we are demanding a change. Our representatives are not listening.
OK, now I've said what many of my friends and many other people have been saying and I have 'blown off some steam". What do I think is going to happen? Well, surprisingly, I am kind of optimistic about that. I am actually glad these guys won't listen. I think that when the elections come, the politicians are going to be surprised. Many of them, in both parties, are going to be looking for new jobs. We, the people, have a much better understanding of how to get change than they realize --and we have a much longer memory than they hope. Come election time there are going to be a lot of new faces in both houses of congress. Change will come and it will not be the change the President had hoped for.