Democracy, Rise and fall of in America

I read somewhere recently, can’t seem to find it to quote it, about an English Historian from the17th century who was telling of the rise and fall of the various democracies that have arisen in the world and then their fall into just past history. He gave a few reasons of why they collapsed. There were a lot of them that are very recognizable as they are happening again today in this country. The one that finally brought an end to most of them, was when the populace discovered that they could by right of voting, deliver too themselves for personal gain, a piece of the public treasury! This was the final step, or straw as it were that eventually broke the back of these governments.

Do you see any parallels in the US here today? Earmarks by the “folks” that guide and make our laws that help only “selected” portions of our population instead of all? All sorts of “benefits” to themselves as our legislators? You know, free healthcare forever paid by you, free mail service paid by you, interest free loans paid by you and the list goes on ad nauseam. These are the people that will eventually be responsible for the end of democracy in the US. All because of their personal greed, although they will ALWAYS espouse to you that the only reason they have come into public life is to look out for YOUR interests! Yeah, right!

According to polls conducted by lots of various entities, most of the people of this country are highly dissatisfied with the performance of the US Congress, Senate and House! The last one I looked at said only about 17% of us were happy with their doings. You can bet they were the recipients of their Congressmen and Senators largesse. So what are the other 83% of us to do in order to fix this mix mash of incompetents, drunks, good ole boy networks, and just plain crooks?

Part of it can be done by dismantling the good ole boy infrastructure. How do you do that you ask? You do it by setting term limits for both houses. Two terms for each person in each house, and then you are out, just like the president! If you don’t have to spend your time kissing ass and sucking up to the committee chairman in order to achieve things, then maybe you could spend all your time building consensus among your cohorts on items of NATIONAL interest, and getting them passed! Four years as a Congressman should suffice, as well as twelve as a Senator!

So you say that in reality there will never be term limits set because the incumbents won’t do it! And you would be absolutely right. They won’t do it with out some sort of coercion. What is it we can use to make them do it? It is really simple. You do not vote for ANY incumbent in the next election. You let them, as well as the aspirants to their office, know in advance that if they do not get the term limits set in the next session of congress, they also will be out on their ass’s in the NEXT election! We just have to get off our lazy ass’s and DO SOMETHING about it! They all believe that once they attain this seat it is theirs by right of possesion for as long as they want it! Well it is time to stand up on our hind legs and let them know differently.

I can hear the argument already that there will be no continuity with people coming and going so fast. Fast? Two, four, or six, or twelve years is fast? Well the type of continuity that we have had for the past forty or fifty years is way overdue for a drastic revamping. I’m not talking about dumping members of only one party either. There is guilt and conspiracy enough in both the parties to go around.

So if you 83% really want to change the stagnated system for the better, this would be a good place for a grass roots type of action to begin. Form local action committees for the express purpose of letting those incumbents and those that want to be, just exactly what we would expect of them solely with regard to the term limits question. This isn’t going to work though if only one or two states follow through. It has to come from a broad spectrum of the people from all across the country. So spread the word as to what we the people want to happen. Personally, I read quite a few blogs that are in turn read by hundreds of thousands if not millions of folks all over America. I am going to forward this little rant to all that I read and hope that they will put it out there for all to see. Then if they really care about their, as well as their children and grandchildren’s future, they will take this to heart and run with it! It can be done and it is in dire need of being done!


Anonymous said...

I'm not sure what you think about Michael Moore's film "Sicko" but he does address a similar concern. In this film he points to the contributions that the pharmarcy and health care lobbyists bestowed upon our politicians. The effect was both shocking and alarming.

In sync with your own call for civic responsibility, Moore spoke with a retired (British) member of Parliament. In this interview the retired politician noted that democracies fail when citizens abdicate their responsibilities to call the government to accountability. He noted that "fear" was an effective means of silencing the critics of any government. Meaning, that when people are afraid- terrorism- bad mortgages- unemployment- etc. they tend to towards sheepishness, rather than call for reform.

I was just re-reading the 1980's book--Habits of the Heart - a polticial analysis of individualism and democracy in the US. Back then the writers proposed that should the citizens of the US succumb to the busyness and cares of the modern world, it would imperil the effectiveness of democracy, by defaulting to what the authors termed a "benevolent administrative" model of government. What the authors viewed as a pull towards this model of govt. - twenty years ago- seems to be rather functional at this point.

The authors of HH stressed the importance of getting involved-as you do- but were aware of how so many folks are overwhelmed by family and work demands. Add to that the fear factor that may be at work, and the challenge to get involved seems rather daunting.

I agree with your "call to action" but wonder how to address the underlying factors that may have discouraged or even paralyzed civic participation in call the government and politicians to accountability. Sometimes it even seems to plague island politics as people debate whether they have the time to get involved or not.

Just wondering what you think?

Everett said...

When I started to put this together, I wondered if I had the force of will, energy, or stamina to keep it going and to carry it on. And even if I could figure out how to get it out to the public at large, not just here on BI. I am able to sit here and pound on this thing all day long, but because I'm getting OLD, I don't think I would want to actually be the front man, organizer, group leader etc., but would certainly go to a meeting and help out in any way possible. Guess I'm what some people would call 'all show and no go'.
PS haven't seen the Sicko movie and never will. I can't stand that dude!!

Old NFO said...

Ev, approval is down to a whopping 11% and falling :-) Yes, term limits are the answer, but there is almost no way I that know of to get it on the ballot... sigh... It would put paid to this crap of 'lives' in politics and never having to hold a real job! Don't get me started!

Anonymous said...

You're on to something here. I was watching tonight's news report and the statistics re: voting statistics and a first step towards sanity is just getting people to pay attention and get involved.
Hope that this is the rant heard round the world!

Sam said...

Let's try this one first: a politician should not be allowed to become a lobbyist for 12 years.

Sure, I know what you're after, but lobbying is where millions of dollars is transferred directly to politicians for their private enjoyment. Tom "Mister Hot Tub" DeLay was the master of getting goodies that way. Guess what - he's a lobbyist now!

How about that Jefferson guy from Louisiana with hundreds of thousands hidden in his freezer? Stevens from Alaska, the ex-Governor of Connecticut, they're all a bunch of crooks - busted crooks, more discovered every day.

About 12 years in and then 12 years out of federal political office sounds good to me.

Anonymous said...

You want change...check out Ron Paul.


Don't beleive the people who call him wacko, judge for yourself.

Sam said...

Oh, Ron Paul - also called Dr. No - lives just down the road from Tom Delay south of Houston, Texas. He's a freaking wing-nut with no chance to win the Presidency. For gosh sakes, he tried to abolish the US Department of the Treasury!

He's raising a ton of money because everyone hates the Republican and Democrat candidates, as he seems to stand for a more libertarian and freethinker kind of person.

Hey, like him, give the poor old gynecologist some money. I doubt you'll get to vote for him though.