Reflection analysis

It’s interesting as I look back on several of my past posts how many are about politicians and our government.  Some may say they are negative, I’d say they are just the voice of frustration, anger, disgust and embarrassment at the sad state our country finds itself in – primarily as a result of the corruption and manipulation of our government and laws by self serving interests of politicians.  You could say well the corporations and businesses that pay them for their legislation are to blame but that frees the elected officials of any responsibility.  They make a choice to do whats right or take the money and run regardless of the affect on society because they enrich themselves.  Yet, when you don’t “play ball” you don’t get the money and favors and your voice is diminished if not stifled altogether.

We have been blessed to find ourselves in the greatest country, the greatest social/political experiment of all time which frighteningly seems to have advanced stages of cancer.  It’s not like a train wreck that is sudden and obviously horrific, it’s more like the frog in the pot of water that you put on the stove.  The water gradually heats up and the frog thinks nothing of it, all is going well then next thing you know you’re in hot (boiling) water – AKA: Toast, finished, kaput.   I love this country and all it has to offer and I fear for its future.  The freedom, the opportunities… this is the greatest country on earth.  We’re ruining it, letting it get ruined by politicians and special interests.  Now everyone has their own special interests, I do, that’s not to say they are bad in and of themselves but when they are given unfair influence to exploit or create laws giving them unfair advantages over others at a much greater cost to society in the long run, that’s where they get their bad name.  Compounding this problem it seems politicians can easily spend money and create laws but it seems near impossible for them to stop spending money or remove laws that are wrong, misguided or out of date.  The founding fathers were wise in fearing too much power in one “class” of people so they created the three branches of government to have separation of powers and a system of checks and balances.  Our nations sickness can find its roots in the politicians who have created the political class we have today.  They began studying how the political system works and finding ways to exploit the system to their own benefit.  How do people vote, who can vote for which candidate where, how are the checks and balances on legislation applied.  This has given birth to gerrymandering political voting districts, manipulating the Judicial system by appointing activist judges who would prefer to legislate from the bench rather than just provide a ruling on the strict interpretation of the law.  Can you see the problems here?  What about Law – Case Law in particular.  The practice of deciding litigation by case law assumes the previous Law is good and that the case was decided correctly/properly in the past.  What if any or all of that is wrong…could that be a problem?  Similarly, how can you expect a Judge in the 21st century to really know or understand what the authors of the Constitution were intending in the 1700’s?  Can a judge raised in our society today with all its influences and diverse social cultures really honestly intellectually and unemotionally grasp what the Constitutional authors intended?  We have to be honest with ourselves, admit feelings are fickle and we all are colored and influenced by our upbringing and experiences.  It is hard to set all that aside and be unbiased.

Ah, to be King Solomon for a year and clean up our country…  We should do away with career politicians.  You’ll say, well we have elections.  OK, then, despite them being dishonestly manipulated to create mini-political-fiefdoms we should eliminate the “perks” of political service that create the Political Class.  Elected officials should NOT have their own retirement system/benefit plan, premium healthcare system and separate laws/rules for themselves (e.g. being able to legally trade stocks on insider information) that don’t apply to the rest of the population they serve.  This is corrupt, dishonest and a disincentive to actually act selflessly in the public best interests.  So maybe were stuck with gerrymandered political districts for now that lopsidedly stack the votes to ones favor.  Give the politicians incentive to do the right thing and only allow them access to the same benefits as the population at large such as social security and IRA’s, not a very generous private (er, public?) retirement benefit program or premium healthcare program – they should have to use, buy, invest like everyone else.  America is angry because we’ve accepted too much, turned our heads away and ignored corruption and dishonesty for too long and the politicians have ruined the good thing they’ve created for themselves.  Not unlike the spectacular financial & business meltdowns like MCI, Enron, Bernie Madoff, Lehman Brothers, and the continuing CDO mortgage & banking meltdown ~ it was good for the insiders while it was working but when the music stops and the lights go on everything is exposed for what it really is.  Wrong, unfair, dishonest, immoral, manipulative, add your own characterization here ____________.  And they are deeply intertwined – business/finance and the political system.

So you see it’s hard to just talk about business and finances when everything is in the lurch of the political class.  You can’t ignore it and I think it’s high time we stopped accepting and not questioning it/them.  I’ll wrap up with a few quotes that influence my thinking (and yes some I’ve quoted before – see, they influence me)

“Property is the fruit of labor…property is desirable…is a positive good in the world. That some should be rich shows that others may become rich, and hence is just encouragement to industry and enterprise. Let not him who is houseless pull down the house of another; but let him labor diligently and build one for himself, thus by example assuring that his own shall be safe from violence when built.”

–          Abraham Lincoln

“As government expands, liberty contracts.”
Ronald Reagan

And a particularly haunting quote that every American should know and consider:

“At what point shall we expect the approach of danger?  By what means shall we fortify against it?  Shall we expect some transatlantic military giant, to step the Ocean, and crush us at a blow?  Never!  All the armies of Europe, Asia and Africa combined, with all the treasure of the earth (our own excepted) in their military chest; with a Buonaparte for a commander, could not by force, take a drink from the Ohio, or make a track on the Blue Ridge, in a trial of a thousand years.  At what point, then, is the approach of danger to be expected?  I answer, if it ever reach us it must spring up amongst us.  It cannot come from abroad.  If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher.  As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide.

– Abraham Lincoln

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