We Americans are a proud bunch. We like democracy and we go around the world telling people in other countries how great it is and how they should have it. Our leaders often declare that it is our duty to assist in the spread of democracy. We have even shown that we are willing to go fight wars to give other people freedom and democratic rule. People from other nations come here by the thousands, sometimes walking through deserts, sometimes braving the ocean in open boats, so they can live in a free country and share the blessings of democracy.
Some places within America have become symbolic of our democratic way of life. Images of the Statue of Liberty and the White House are often conjured up when talking about American Democracy and so is an image of Congress with it's domed capital building and majestic beauty.
Congress is the very heart and soul of our democracy. It is the center of our government and represents what we believe to be the finest system in history. Based on a document which we revere and hold nearly as important as the bible, the United States Constitution, Congress is where the laws we live by are enacted.
And therein lays the problem. Look at what we have allowed to happen to our Congress. Look how our elected representatives ignore us and bow the the influence of special interests. Look how readily our representatives allow themselves to be bought off for contributions in order to stay in office or for promises of lucrative jobs after leaving office or even for just common extravagances like trips to exotic luxurious places or special investment deals to make them rich.
We have allowed the struggle for power in Washington to out weigh the obligation to serve the interests of the people. Time and time again we have sat back and watched the two parties allow legislation to become so bogged down that nothing gets accomplished. We have watched idly while corrupt representatives and senators are exposed by each other --and when exposed they are not punished but are simply allowed to return to work as if nothing had happened.
These are the good and bad things about our Congress and we Americans have cause to be both proud and ashamed at the same time. It is, after all is said and done, our fault. The ultimate, unshakable power in our country is our vote. We have the opportunity to fix these problems every few years by simply voting the corrupt and the lazy out of office -but we don't do it. We re-elect the same bad players over and over.
That is the ugly part. That is the part I do not understand. We have the power to change things in Washington. We can simply vote in new people, but we won't do it. Shame on us! Shame on all of us for allowing this to go on and for allowing it to get to the state it is in when we could have changed it so easily. Shame on me for ever taking the easy, the lazy path by voting "the party line" and helping to return these guys to office -and shame on you if you are one of those who say "You're right, they should all go" but then go and vote for your same representatives, or any incumbents, again. Shame on you if you just mindlessly vote "the party line" returning these incumbents to office time and time again.
We do have the finest system of government ever known. We can be proud, very proud of what our founding fathers have given us. But we should be ashamed of what we have done with it. We need to fix it. We need to clean out the corrupt, the lazy and the liars. We need to vote in new faces with new ideas and new ways of doing things. We need to watch more closely and when they start to become corrupt, which they will because all power corrupts, we need to vote them out and replace them. We need new laws with stiff penalties for betraying the public trust -and we need to see them enforced.
We can do it. We can do it easily. All we have to do is "Say No to All Incumbents" just once.