Tag Archives: Government

I’m Ready to Impeach THIS! Our Politicians Do Not Serve Us

I’m Ready to Impeach THIS! Our Politicians Do Not Serve Us

I am sick and tired of the political climate in the United States. While I still believe this is the greatest country on earth (with the greatest political system), it is definitely not due to our politicians and the way our government is run. “We the people” are not being served by “they the politicians”. In fact, we are being used, manipulated, and neglected all at the same time by our elected officials on both sides of the aisle. It has to stop, but I don’t see any way it will. We are too far down the path of bipartisan bickering, the influence of money in politics, a lack of term limits, and political tribalism to see any meaningful change. My friends, this does not make America great, nor does it strengthen our democracy in any meaningful way. I’m ready to impeach THIS!

It amazes me how our politicians are unwilling to compromise for the good of the American people. Instead, any flimsy compromise you hear about is for the benefit of the politicians and the philosophies of the party they represent. It’s damn near criminal! As an example, people have needed relief for a year due to COVID-19. Democrats and Republicans still cannot agree on how much and how it should be allocated. So they won’t compromise enough to help those in need. Instead they view it as a tug-of-war over government spending, taxation, corporate handouts, etc, not the needs of their constituents. Basically, if a piece of legislation doesn’t satisfy a political party (and it never does), then their votes will create gridlock. This is bipartisan bickering. Meanwhile, the unemployment rolls continue to swell, the food lines get longer, and our economic anxiety lives on. I’m ready to impeach THIS!

The influence of money in politics is disgusting. Don’t get it twisted, they are all on the take! Don’t assume your favorite Democrat is free of the influence of money. They need donations to run for office, right? This means the donors can have a “say” in policies put in place once your Democrat wins an election. Their donation is undoubtedly higher than the average American’s and probably tied to a corporation or special interest group. You can assume correctly they have more influence than Joe the farmer who donates $25 to his favorite politician. Not only that, who do you think gets access to our politicians? Good old Joe can’t call his senator and strike up a conversation, not for $25. But many rich donors can because they put more in the pot. If they don’t like what they hear they can withhold their money or donate to someone else. I’m ready to impeach THIS!

Why is it that our Congress does not have term limits? If the office of President is limited to two terms, then our Senators and Representatives should have term limits too. There is no way you can convince me that old ass Mitch McConnell-R (elected in1985) or Patrick Leahy-D (elected in 1974) thinks like this is 2021. Do they know their decisions require solutions that will work in 2021 instead of when they were first elected as Senators years ago. This is because they, and countless others in both parties have been in power too long. They have no business making policy for our country anymore. But here’s the catch. Guess who has to vote on changing our laws to create term limits to get these fossils out of office? Our senators and representatives have that power. Why would they even consider it? They have power, prestige, money and all the trappings of being politicians. As long as their “gullible” constituents continue to vote them in, they continue to stay in power. I’m ready to impeach THIS!

We can’t forget about political tribalism, which is an unwritten rule that says politicians support the views of their party most, if not all of the time. It doesn’t matter if the policy is good or bad, it will most likely be supported by the entire political party as a way to hold the party line. Where are the individual thinkers in our government? They are there, yet they do not have the courage of their convictions to break with their party for the sake of the American people. The impeachment trials are proof. Republicans, even those who knew Trump was guilty, would not dare vote against him and their party. While it is true there were a few defectors, they are many more who wanted to vote to remove him, but chose not to. This is because they refused to buck the party line, alienate many voters, and piss off their donors. God forbid that a politician would vote for the good of the American people because it would be the right thing to do. Instead, politicians overwhelmingly stay within their tribe even when its against their own conscience. I’m ready to impeach THIS!

So what do we do? I have several answers. First, we need either a viable third political party, or a group of independent lawmakers who will not perpetuate bipartisan bickering. This will help break the gridlock in Washington that hinders our ability to pass legislation to help the American people. Next, we need to weed out the influence of money in our politics. We should limit the numeric and monetary amounts of donations people, corporations, and super-pacs to reduce donor’s influence over politicians and policy making. Also, we should have congressional term limits. The easy way is to follow the term limits of the President. Politicians should be limited to two terms so new leadership gets a chance to lead. Finally, we should hold our elected officials accountable when they vote with their tribe instead of following the will of the people who elected them. We need to be more vigilant with monitoring how our politicians vote and how often they are for and against their party’s policies. I’m ready to impeach THIS!

I believe these are sound ideas, but none of them will come to pass. Let’s face it, the crooks have the building blueprint, operate the security cameras, know the safe combination, and put a getaway car on standby. If caught, they also write the laws, are friends with the police, eat dinner with the judges, and went to school with the attorneys. In other words, the politicians have all the power and advantages to keep the rules of the game the same. Unfortunately, for any real change to occur they would have to change things from within. Good luck with that happening. The entire political establishment knows they are in a “good” spot as long as none of them mess it up for all of them. They need to keep us in the dark about the rules of their game, how they play, and the results they want to achieve to stay in power. I’m ready to impeach THIS!

In my opinion, we have a few ways to influence change that our politicians can’t directly control. First, we must educate ourselves about our government. We call it civics: a social science dealing with the rights and duties of citizens, government, and how it affects life. If civics is not brought back into our school curriculum, they we have to learn civics “School House Rock” style, one video at a time. Next, we need to learn about the inner workings of our state and local government. Sure we know (to some extent) the roles of the President and Congress, but what about our local judge, councilperson, and school board member? They affect our lives far more than our national leaders, yet we do not learn who they are and what they do. Next, we need to educate ourselves about all candidates and vote. We do not have to vote by party affiliation. Instead, we should vote in our own interests regardless of which party agrees or disagrees. I’m ready to impeach THIS!

We are past the point of no return. We are beyond thinking government does not affect us. We are done with accepting what our politicians tell us. We are through with thinking our voices don’t matter. You matter. I matter. We matter. This is our country, and we need to hold our political leaders, on both sides of the aisle, to a much higher standard. We need to send the message that we are tired of politics as usual. While I don’t encourage storming the Capitol, I do encourage more education, more determination, and more consternation to help fix our political system. I’m ready impeach THIS! Our politicians do not serve us… yet!

Gary A. McAbee, Author and Blogger: JOIN ME ON SOCIAL MEDIA!

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Just Pass the Damn Bill!

Bill

Just Pass the Damn Bill!

In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, several things have happened to wake up Americans. One of these things is our government’s inability to pass the damn bill! There is always bickering back and forth between the two political parties about their reason for and against most bills. The process is then drawn out, and it could take months for a “sensible” bill to become a law. It is what pisses me off about politics: they take too long to pass the damn bill!

In the midst of the debate over the merits of a bill, the political spin and gamesmanship takes center stage. Both Democrats and Republicans exchange shot after shot at each other, while an important piece of legislation hangs in the balance. It’s all a game, but do we really understand how the game is being played? The best way to explain it is with a simple example with a few exaggerations just to prove the point…

There is an intersection in your city without a stop sign. The street leads directly into a school zone. Cars speed through the intersection and a lot of drivers speed through the intersection, blow past the warning signs, and pass the school. One day, a crossing guard and a child got hit and killed by a motorist. Now the community wanted action to fix this problem. A local congressperson in the Orange Party decided to write a bill to pass a law to add stop signs at this dangerous corner and regulate speed in a new school zone.

Another congressperson in the Purple Party knows an owner of a liquor store chain. He donates money to her campaign and the Purple Party. The owner has an eye on opening a store on corner of that same intersection. He calls the congressperson about the store and reminds her of his generous donations. They will help her get reelected. Now the congressperson wants to add provisions in the stop sign bill that would allow the liquor store to open on the same corner. These are two totally separate issues, but somehow they are associated with the same bill.

The leaders of the Orange and Purple Party argue the merits of the bill. Eventually, they work out a compromise and both measures are included in the final version of the bill. Now it goes to a vote. Officials in the Orange Party want the stop signs, but can’t vote for the bill because of the liquor store. Since they have the majority, their votes override the members of the Purple Party, who favor building the store to satisfy their party member and her generous donor. Now that the bill has been defeated, the games begin. The Purple Party broadcasts the following outcome:

The Orange Party is anti-child safety because they voted against adding stop signs near a school zone!

Because the bill in this simple example is really 1400 pages long, (1350 of those pages are about the stop signs and 50 pages are about the liquor store), it is hard for the public to “see” why the Orange Party struck down the bill. It is also difficult for the Orange Party to refute the anti-child safety claim. The narrative sticks and the public blames the Orange Party every time another incident occurs at the intersection. Meanwhile, the Orange Party voted against the bill because it did not want a new liquor store near a school. At least they “won” that battle.

While this example is purposely far-fetched, it is a snapshot of what happens in our government. There is no such thing as what I call a “clean” bill: short, sweet, and to the point without extra provisions. In my opinion, they should vote on single-item bills. In our example, there could be two “clean” bills: one for the stops signs and another for the liquor store. Then we can get the votes, accept or reject each bill, and implement any laws that pass. Instead, we get 1400 page bills stuffed with pork: extra provisions that are added to satisfy all parties involved in the bill. The pork in our example is building the liquor store. Notice that the will of the community is never addressed after the problem is identified.

I am sure it is impractical to have “clean” bills because of sheer volume. Our representatives would be expected to read and understand all of those bills before they vote. By the way, a lot of them don’t read the 1400 page bills they vote on now anyway. Maybe writing short, “clean” bills a few pages long would change that fact. But I suspect they still wouldn’t read. Instead, they would continue to vote based on their party affiliation, while supporting their colleagues and donors, rather than doing what the community wants and needs.

There has to be a better way to pass the damn bill that someone much smarter than me can figure out. In the meantime, our only hope is to take more interest in what our officials vote for and the reasons they do it. If they hold to the party line or satisfy donors without helping to pass “sensible” legislation for us, then we should notate it, remember it, and vote their asses out during the next election cycle. It is much easier said than done, because they know we do not hold them personally accountable for their votes. We must take back our voting power and get our official to break the gridlock to get things done.

To our elected officials across the country:  just pass the damn bill!

 

Gary A. McAbee created the Wake Up/Rise Up Black America blog to have a powerful voice and positive impact in African-American neighborhoods, communities, and society. The articles posted are not only for African-Americans, but for all people due to their relevance and cultural significance. Along with his other blog, Motivation for the World, Gary can get people talking about issues that affect us all. He is the proud author of three self-help books: Wake Up! 42 Ways to Improve Black America Now!, the follow-up Rise Up! 42 Additional Ways to Improve Black America Now! , and Defining Success: One Word at a Time.

 

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Hiding the Truth from Americans: I Wonder Why “They” Took Civics Out of the Curriculum

For those of you who don’t know, civics is the study of the rights and responsibilities of citizenship and the study of government and how it works (Dictionary.com). In our formal education, it is rare that students take a course in civics. Instead, they learn only sparse bits and pieces of information pertaining to how government works. This slice of education is usually buried in US History textbooks and only mentioned as it relates to certain episodes in our history. In other words, our students are not taught how our government works. They are not taught how politics work. They are not taught how laws are created. They are not taught civics.

Why should we learn civics?

Do you know how a bill becomes a law? Do you know who appoints federal judges? Do you know who your local representative in Congress is? If you don’t know the answers to these questions then you probably should learn civics, or at least engage in the political process. A civics course would have helped with the answers to these questions, while providing a basis for understanding the political discourse in our country. I know a lot of people will say this doesn’t interest them. That’s fine, but regardless of your interest level, politics and decisions made by our elected officials affects our everyday life.

If we had a better understanding of civics…

  • more people would vote in local, state and national elections
  • more people would demand action from our elected officials
  • more people would influence policy on a local level
  • more people would run for office

If civics affects our daily lives, then why did they take civics out of the classroom?

question mark

I do not necessarily believe in sweeping conspiracy theories, but I do believe in a slow, steady progress toward taking things away that are deemed unimportant or outdated. Civics is nether unimportant or outdated. So why have civics classes disappeared from our curriculum? I firmly believe civics is no longer taught in our schools because a certain percentage of the population must be kept in the dark about certain things. Another way of saying it is some people need to be uneducated. Uneducated people can be trained, molded, and pushed in a specific direction. They do not have the will or ability to resist.

As it relates the government and civics, many people do not know the basics of government and how it should work. Therefore (if) they vote they do so without having enough knowledge to make an educated decision about the people and policies that shape our cities, states, and nation. They do not even know the importance of their individual vote. They do not know their local politicians. They do not know local laws and statutes. On top of that, they do not have the will or ability to learn.

So here we are in 2018. The good news is a lot more people are waking up and learning more about politics and our elected officials. All of a sudden, people are aware of the President’s duty to appoint Justices to the Supreme Court. Those Justices interpret the legality of laws and can, in effect, overturn them if they are deemed unconstitutional. Don’t forget that these Justices have lifetime appointments, so their decisions could affect policy for 50 years!

Now we must take things a step further. Either we demand that our students are taught civics in schools again, or become interested enough to learn on our own. Without a few civics lessons, we will continue to see a slow, but steady growth of people unaware of the workings of our government and our elected officials. We will have more people unaware of how laws are created and passed. We will have more people unaware of who their representatives are. We will have more people unaware of how government and politics affect their daily lives.

I Wonder Why “They” Took Civics Out of the Curriculum? Is it to hide the truth?

 

Gary A. McAbee created the Wake Up/Rise Up Black America blog to have a powerful voice and positive impact in African-American neighborhoods, communities, and society. The articles posted are not only for African-Americans, but for all people due to their relevance and cultural significance. Along with his other blog, Motivation for the World, Gary is able to get people talking about issues that affect us all. He is the proud author of three self-help books: Wake Up! 42 Ways to Improve Black America Now!, the follow-up Rise Up! 42 Additional Ways to Improve Black America Now! , and Defining Success: One Word at a Time.

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