Atomic bombs, drone strikes, cyber warfare; war is constantly evolving, and a new online petition is asking whether our definition of treason is keeping pace. If warfare in the digital age can be targeted at our infrastructure, it begs, could our members of congress be guilty of treason?
With the effects of sequestration looming, and over a million federal employees at risk of suffering furloughs, one must wonder: why are members of congress not giving up any of their $174,000 salaries? If taxpayers must deal with the hiring freezes, wage freezes, unpaid time off, and cuts to federal programs, surely there's no reason why those same taxpayers should pay almost $100 million a year in congressional salaries. Especial when the congress in question is failing them.
If one considers that the average household income is in the neighborhood of $50,000, and that unemployment is around 8%, congressional salaries quickly become a question of ethics rather than just poor taste. It can't be moral for our legislators to make almost four times the average household income, and over eleven times the income of a minimum wage earner, while millions of Americans who are seeking jobs can't get them, and congress can't do something as simple as pass a budget to get the country back on track.
Sequestration, in theory, was supposed to be so uncomfortable that congress would come to a compromise in order to avoid the otherwise-inevitable automatic spending cuts. Because there was nothing personally at risk for Republicans or Democrats in congress, sequestration has proven to be a complete failure.
The petition at hand has created a new dilemma for Republicans and Democrats to consider, should it prove popular.
On the one hand, the petition essentially asks congress members to prove their loyalty to the United States by forgoing their six-figure incomes and tightening their purse strings like the rest of America. On the other hand, congress members can accept a treason conviction for what would be considered a willful attempt to run the country into the ground.
In a way, it's Plato's Republic put into practice. Our congress men and women ought to be taking up positions of leadership because they feel they will benefit our nation. That politicians make so much more than the average American raises significant doubts about their intentions.
It has yet to be seen whether the petition will gather any traction, but it does raise the question of what we're going to do to hold congress accountable. Clearly, self-regulation is not a viable option moving forward.
You can view the petition at http://signon.org/sign/congress-do-job-voluntarily.