American Elephants

The Accomplishments of the 111th Congress. by The Elephant's Child

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid sent out a press-release last week headlined “111th Congress Accomplishments.”  The superlatives of media cheerleaders were quoted and the legislative triumphs of the session were listed in capital letters, 30 of them:  Health Care Reform, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the HIRE Act (jobs package), the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, the Food Safety Act,  the Travel Promotion Act, Student Loan Reform, Hate Crimes Prevention and 22 more wondrous accomplishments.

The loss of 53 House seats and 6 Senate seats was not mentioned, nor was the Gallup poll with an approval rate for Congress of 13 percent, the lowest in the history of Gallup polling.  Other headlines referred to 2010 as a Disaster.  Are our politicians and media so far apart that they have no understanding at all of each other? Yes, they are.

There is a trap in the Beltway, the center of power in America, and many who arrive there are apt to fall into the trap. They start to believe that their desire to make the world a better place, the noble cause that sent them on the campaign trail, supersedes the principles under which our government is supposed to operate.

Our government was carefully designed by the founders who considered everything they had learned about governments and the foibles of men.  They designed it with three separate and distinct branches of government, each with their own responsibilities, as a system of checks and balances.  They divided the Congress into two parts; the House of Representatives to represent the people, and the Senate to represent the States as a whole.  They expected arguments and fights, disagreement and dishonesty.  They recognized human nature.

One often hears the claim that there is no difference between the parties.  Others are angered by the disagreements.  Why can’t they get along!   They forget human nature: imperfect, quarrelsome, weak, thoughtless, and occasionally stupid.  Sometimes politicians mean well, and sometimes they are just angling for power.

You cannot expect perfection.  They are politicians, and have some extra gene for ego which sent them on the campaign trail in the first place.  And what could be more ego-enhancing than to work in the White House or the Capitol Building.  They have arrived.

The people (us) have also read the Constitution to which they swear allegiance.  There is a reason why the Tea Parties have made such a big deal of the very first words — “We the people.” We like to remind them that they work for us, they are our servants.  They don’t believe it for an instant.

There are the true believers to whom social justice is the only righteous path; the progressives who believe in a welfare state with a human face; the middle-of-the-roaders, who want some well-regulated capitalism with a healthy safety net; the free-market folks; and the far right — well, you know, religion, guns and the rich.

The Democrats fell fully into the trap.  Their desire to impose their ideas on the country despite the wishes of the electorate was fully exposed.  The voters were finally able to see the unvarnished liberal agenda.  Promises of new jobs resulted in a 9,8% unemployment rate. Promises of “stimulus” for a depressed economy ended up with increased debt and an admission that there weren’t any “shovel-ready” projects.  The goal has not been to respond to public opinion.  The goal has been to impose “social justice,” whatever that is, and a comfortable welfare state whether the public likes it or not.

Not in America.  There are a lot of Americans who still believe that this is an exceptional country.

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