This may be a little crude, but what the hell is happening to our nation? The federal government wants to cut benefits for those they casually sent to war, and reduce support for our nation’s poorest people while protecting big business. Where did my country go? The richest Americans are becoming more wealthy while homeless families and those living at the poverty level are seeing a dramatic increase in numbers. The very old song has become prophetic; ‘the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer.’
At the center of dysfunctional Washington is a Congress which lacks talent and common sense. Both sides of the aisle are more concerned with getting their way, and the final result becomes lost in their disagreement. Deliberation and compromise have no place in our government today.
Case in point; nearly all Veteran’s organizations were in support of ‘the Veteran’s Omnibus Bill.’ There was bipartisan support for the bill which would have provided increased funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs, decreased the backlog of disability benefits within the V.A., made improvements in general health care services, improved and strengthen the new G.I. Bill, insured hiring programs for veterans are maintained, and expanded benefits for survivors of our military who lost their lives in war ravaged areas.
This is what happened when Senator Bernie Sanders brought the bill to the floor. Republicans objected to such a wide range of benefits; Democrats refused to allow amendments to the document.
Our government eagerly approves sending our military into a war. Not a single politician fails to praise our young men and women who fight their battles for them; the people of our nation do not declare war. When they come home alive, injured, or deceased, our nation’s leaders prefer to ignore them. By their actions, or lack of action, they display a complete lack of concern for the welfare of our armed forces men and women, and their families.
America is not a section of land within borders; America is people. When the people are cast aside through political posturing and in favor of concerns which support the advancement of our legislators, America no longer exists. The dream is deceased.
Not only has Congress reduced benefits for our veterans, it has also waged a war against the working class.
Through legislation which protects our wealthiest citizens, the working class and poor are experiencing a decrease in income, while those who have no need for more income receive the benefit of a failed Congress.
Between the end of WWII and the late 1970’s the income of working and middle class Americans revealed an increase which was closing the gap between them and our wealthiest citizens. Since that time the trend has reversed; the gap has widened to such a severe distance that it is doubtful that change will ever occur.
Both the number of homeless individuals and families, and those living at the poverty level have sharply increased. Politicians at federal and state levels continue to reduce assistance programs. In addition they are passing legislation to increase the standards by which these groups can obtain assistance.
The Oligarchy which is now our government has become all too powerful and self-absorbed. I say we fire them all. I don’t mean just the incumbents, I think they should all go. And when we install a new group make sure they have a two-term limit. Also we must eliminate political parties. Our founding fathers predicted our nation’s demise if they became too powerful; they were wise men.
Of course none of this has a possibility of happening; our votes don’t count, and Americans waste their votes far too often. The theory behind the right to vote was that our nation’s citizens would vote for the most qualified candidate. It’s obvious that this is not happening today. Voting purely along party lines displays a lack of intelligence. Some say it’s the ideology; that’s foolish. Neither party has an ideology; the only difference is that Democrats are more likely to vote for the average man’s interests.
What can we do? Today I am starting a campaign to encourage people not to vote. I know, some of us are concerned about who will become president in 2016. First of all, does it truly matter? Without the support of Congress, the President is virtually powerless. In addition, we don’t elect the president; the Electoral College has that ability. The man or woman for whom you cast your ballot can lose even if he or she receives the majority of the popular vote. Why waste your time and gas to give another politician ‘the good life?’
Commentary by James Turnage