In 2001, members of Congress owed $2.53 million in back, personal income taxes. In 2014, 714 tax delinquents on Capitol Hill owed $8.6 million. I once owed taxes after a foreclosure. I had no peace from the IRS until it was repaid... My accounts were levied, my pay garnished, my future returns seized long past repayment. I owed a pittance compared to this amount. Interesting how the political elite operate under quite different rules. A 2013 bill to fire federal employees accountable for back taxes, of course, failed to be passed. Instead, those employees continue to be paid with federal funds while not supporting the system.
But, these are the people that Americans keep voting into office to manage the nation's finances.... Explains some things about the current state of our government and economy, huh?
And, it is an exceptional demonstration of the frustration by Americans regarding the disengagement and lack of personal accountability in its ruling body. Another deals with the length of time that Reps sit in office...
On June 5, 2013, John D. Dingell, Jr of Michigan became the longest sitting member of Congress with 57 years, 5 months, and 26 days. 90% of House members and 91% of Senate members were reelected in 2012. In 2010, those numbers were 87% and 84%, respectively. And, these numbers are typical despite Congressional approval ratings falling as low as 10% according to Gallup polls, during the same terms. At age 86, Mr. Dingell first appeared on the House floor at age 6, when his father was elected to office. This gives rise to yet another aspect of the political machine.... Political families.
Some, like the Kennedy family became quite near American royalty. The Bush family produced two presidents, and hopes for a third. In fact, in 2015, 20 members of Congress had parents who had also been in Congress. At least 5 more succeeded other family members, including siblings, uncles, and spouses. A 2013 piece by The Washington Post found 37 dynastic members. The same article noted that female legislators are nearly 3 times as likely to be dynastic as men.
Earlier this year, Rasmussen polls showed that most Americans were far more concerned with reducing health care costs (59%) than mandating all citizens be insured (36%). In 2015, only 47% of Americans supported the ACA, more commonly called Obamacare, while members of Congress had quite stronger perspectives with 70% of Democratic members supporting and 72% of Republican members against. July 2014 Kaiser polls showed a high of American disfavor for ACA at 53%. Naturally, Congress exempted itself from ACA, promptly, so members never had a personal investment as to its success or failure.
In 2014, Gallup polls showed that 60% of Americans believed that having a gun in their house made them safer. Another Gallup poll in 2015 showed more Americans having a favorable view of the NRA than not. The current presidential administration continued to promote gun control restrictions despite clear public dissent. Congressional members, naturally, are protected by armed Capital Police on the Hill and at official events. Senior leadership has 24 hour protection. Any concern also includes undercover municipal police protection. And, still many members elect to carry concealed.
What's the point of all this rambling? I'm disgusted and frustrated with the disconnection of our sitting ruling bodies.... Some people get angry when I use the term "ruling," but I'd argue that it's the correct one.... Our "representatives" -- I'm using the term loosely -- are under no obligation to vote according to the conscience of their constituency (this is of course why we're a republic and not a democracy as the uneducated continue to call us). And, they don't.
I am no idealist, but I'm also dissatisfied with the perspective that working within the system will change it. In fact, my experience has been that such an endeavor is unlikely to work for many reasons... Not the least of which being that an agency's culture is persuasive and, in some cases, overwhelming. I believe this to be the case when considering the patriarchal, capitalist, power mongering culture of the federal legislature.
Many wonderful articles have been written on the effects of patriarchy and misogyny, so I won't beat that drum, but I will point out that I believe the best measure of the entrenchment of patriarchy is by checking the behavior of its intended victims.... Women. When you have a society of women who compete, compare, and endeavor to put each other "in their place," you have an ugly, pervasively patriarchal society. Such a society will need to seek to heal it's women while simultaneously convincing those benefiting by the patriarchy that they are also victims (this is, of course, true, but a hard argument to make to those who believe they're having their cake and eating pie, as well; and, also a difficult argument for the obvious victims to swallow).
Women must recognize that they've often abdicated their power in order to succeed in a more covert fashion which undermines said power; or in order to free themselves of personal responsibility. Successful women may resist this. I believe Mrs Clinton to be one of these women.... One who elected to use the tactics of patriarchal men to move herself forward, which included compromising standards. I cannot support her bid for government given her indelible embroidery inside the political machine that I believe is failing us as a nation. I discard Mr. Sanders for the same reason.... A member of the legislature for nearly 30 years, I fail to see how and why he would suddenly wish to make changes, nor do I believe he can interfere with the aforementioned culture of the Hill.
What's left of the choices? Absolutely nothing good. Nothing. Trump? No. Cruz? Absolutely not.
What do I want in a candidate? Ideally: green party, but I'd settle for a libertarian with a brain. Truly, I want a constitutionalist..... Someone who will look at the labyrinth of conflicting law and enforcement bodies and begin simplifying by eliminating. If we've learned anything from the last fifty years, I hope that it's that we've created an untouchable, self perpetuating power elite which is completely divorced from the average citizen. My representative government doesn't represent me.
Do I recognize how unrealistic my wants are? Naturally. I believe, instead, that we will see revolution and/or collapse in the course of my lifetime. I believe that this is likely necessary to destroy the ill effects of our entitlement and lack of personal accountability taken as a society. I also recognize that great hardship, violence, and misery is likely.
Obviously, the title didn't lead me where I thought it would, but I stand by it and will finish here.....
What's the problem with a woman president?
If she's the candidate that I believe represents my ideals. I haven't had one present themselves yet. But, I certainly wish they would.