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Message Mary Pitt
Just exactly whose fault is this mess? This bribing of our legislators and the corruption and cronyism that has blighted and nearly destroyed our nation? Who is responsible for the climate which allows the lobbyists to spend more money to buy off the influential Congressmen and feed the campaign war chests than the taxpayer pays them in salary? Is the Republican "reform" plan more reasonable than that of the Democrats or do they borh fall short of the mark? Whose responsibility is it to find the answers and to assure that this graft and bribery is eliminated from the halls of government?

Literally, it is our fault, yours and, mine, John Q! We have created a situation where we have re-elected the same people over and over, regardless of their personal integrity and despite their open treachery so long as they represent our personal prejudices in specific small areas. Some of us are lazy and refuse to even think about politics, dismissing it as a "silly" pastime and "nothing to get all worked up about". Others vote the "party line" as a way to keep from having to do a bit of work to discover whether the candidates on that slate are truly honest and willing to represent our best interests. Most simply respond when pressed, "Oh, the ones that are there are doing an okay job," just so long as their little lives appear to be in order and they are not required to make any effort on their own behalf.

Both parties have proposed plans to control the buying of our employees' loyalty and access to the money which is supposed to be spent in our interests. "After all," they tell you, "it is your money." However, they have no compunctions against giving it away in the interest of the highest bidder. To begin at the top, Candidate George W. Bush promised us a "bipartisan" administration and a "Compassionate Conservatism". What we have is a lockstep Republican majority that delivers on every measure that he requests. In return, he has refused to veto any bill that Congress passes, though adding a "statement" that he does not acknowledge that any Congressionally-passed measure applies to him, to his appointees, and their hirelings. What hubris! What arrogance! What an unlawful seizure of absolute power! If you are not indignant and angry, you have no understanding of what is going on.

We are laboring under the influence of an energy plan which was, literally, written by the oil companies, the names of whose representatives were involved in its conception are carefully kept from the public by the White House. The budget which allowed for public assistance for the very poor, the elderly, and the afflicted was cut by millions in the same week that billions in tax cuts were passed for the benefit of the top 1% of taxpayers. Congress and the President scream about the size of the budget as the administration spends billions of dollars "off budget" to maintain the War of Choice. Billions more are tossed into "Homeland Security" to keep the enemy from coming in the front door while they gleefully accept the fact that millions of illegal aliens a year are climbing through the windows from the south and undermining our economy.

It is time the citizens of our country, Democrat, Republican, and all the "splinter" parties, band together in one movement, perhaps a "Clean Sweep Coalition", to put our government on notice that we will no longer tolerate this situation. We were just treated to the spectacle of Al Gore and Bob Barr appearing in the same forum, denouncing this treachery which amounts to treason. What could be more bipartisan? All parties should explain to wannabe candidates that, unless they foreswear these practices of accepting payoffs in whatever form, they will not get past the primaries. There are truly honest people of all political persuasion available in every state. We must take the time to find, to recruit, and to support them. But this is only the first step.

They will be the people who will be responsible for passing new laws to eliminate these criminal practices. Jack Abramoff should not be in the dock alone but should be accompanied by every Congressman who accepted these "favors" from him. There should be a law that criminalizes even offering a bribe to a public official, but that is not enough. The Congressman should be bound to report every such attempt and should be criminally charged should he accept these offers. It will do no good to kill one fox when the chickens are so eager to cooperate!

The events of the last five years may be "nothing new" as regards the Presidential power-grab which effectively neuters the legislative and judicial branches of our government, creating a virtual dictatorship that threatens to destroy every principle on which the Founding Fathers established a "democratic republic" on these shores. If this nation should founder on the shoals of corruption, cronyism, and consumerism; if the dollar fails due to incompetent administration of our wealth; and if we find ourselves in the position of post World War I Germany, our future will be plain to us, and we will have nobody but our miserable selves to blame. It is time to put our mouths where our money is and to make it perfectly clear that we will no longer tolerate the self-aggrandizement and the selling of loyalty of our "employees" to the highest bidder, and any violation of our trust will be met with a "perp walk" and punishment as a common criminal.

Our government of the people, by the people, and for the people is in danger of becoming a government of the rich, by the corrupt, and for the international corporations. There is no super-hero out there, no white-hat gunslinger who will come riding out of the West to save us. This is a do-it-yourself project, Mr. and Mrs. America, and we should best be about getting it done.
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This writer is eighty years old and has spent a half century working with handicapped and deprived people and advocating on their behalf while caring for her own workung-class family. She spends her "Sunset Years" in writing and struggling with The (more...)
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