It’s happened, folks. As you read this article sequestration is taking place. Will it affect you—probably not? Will the economy collapse—probably not? Will it change what’s going on in Congress—probably not?
As Mad Magazine’s Alfred E. Neuman would say, “What, me worry?” I wouldn’t, but I am watching the present politicos with great interest and amusement.
First of all, nothing that’s going on is new in terms of our collective past. Throughout our American history, Congress has had titanic fights over different issues and about what is the right course of action for the country. Congressional member have eschewed each other, knifed each other, and even had duals and fist fights over legislation.
The different pugilistic encounters were well-documented and interesting to read. One early account of what went on with our representatives is found in Autobiography by Thomas Jefferson. It’s an interesting read.
What’s different today? In today’s political climate we have two major differences from earlier times: (1) we don’t have one extraordinary statesman-like group of representatives who consider it their duty to move the country forward, and (2) at present we don’t have a strong two-party system—the Republicans are in total disarray.
Today’s government is occupied by plutocrats who have little or no regard for what it means to move the nation forward. They are either influenced by lobbyists, big business (i.e. oil companies), or fearful that Grover Norquist will come gunning for them in their next primary because they didn’t vote “correctly.”
The plutocrats in Congress will still get paid with no hit while an estimated 1 million other federal workers will have their wages reduced up to 20% through a furlough process, or in the worst-case scenario, may be laid-off and swell the ranks of our unemployed.
Here’s a thought, let’s cut 15% of Congressional member’s salaries. Isn’t that reducing the size of wasteful government spending?
One major factor that is missing from our Congress is what I call “the common experience.” If you look over the history of our country, you will see there are approximately four eras of time that created the shared common experience that brought people together in promoting the greater good.
Those include: (1) the Revolutionary War period; (2) the Civil War period; (3) World War I period; and, (4) the World War II period.
In regards to each of these eras, there came a period of time after the conclusion of the actual event that a feeling of shared common experience existed, only to be replaced by the next event. Today there really hasn’t been that all-in-compassing experience shared by a large portion of the population to bind us together once again.
The last great period of the common experience was World War II when literally millions of Americans fought and died overseas. Correspondingly, voters sent many legislators to Washington who shared the common experience of directly fighting in WWII or contributing to the war effort on the home front.
Because of this common experience shared by many of our legislators, they worked together to build a strong, successful America. They were men like John Kennedy, George H.W. Bush, Bob Doyle, Ronald Reagan, and many others. They were men and women of different political beliefs but when the circumstance demanded it, they were able to work together and find a common path in the laws they created for the good of the country.
This ability to come together for the common good of our country is what is lacking in Congress today. Most of the men we’ve sent to represent us have no shared common experience to fall back on. More often than not, they are selfish folks who represent narrow interest groups of money and power.
The sequester will not hurt the rich, nor our legislators who are themselves rich. Here’s an interesting fact. Congressmen will not lose one cent of their salary, yet, their staffs will be cut (with some staff members losing their jobs or having their income sizable reduced).
Once again, it seems our plutocrats have safeguarded their standard-of-living at the expense of the rest of America.
Will the madness ever stop?—probably not. Will the economy collapse?—probably not. Will it affect you?—probably not. Will it change what’s going on in Congress?—ABSOLUTLY NOT.
(Larry Momo writes for both The Washington Times Community Political Section and the San Pedro News Pilot.)