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Working Hard for You!

Working Hard for You!

One undeniable fact that history has always shown us without fail, is that every empire to ever see its moment of glory under the sun, no matter how breathtaking in scope and dimension, eventually crumbled.  The good news is that human history has been painstakingly recorded so future generations can learn from past mistakes and avoid the same pitfalls, the bad news is we don’t seem to be grasping the warnings.
 
Democracies of ancient times had the concept down pat, the voice of the people should reign supreme.  But then, because there was no way to effectively streamline the will of the masses into a manageable structure, legislators were born, a chosen few granted the honor and privilege to represent the voice of others.  But, with the birth of the legislator, came the inevitable afterbirth, corruption.  Just like in ancient days, it always seems to gravitate to those granted the power to speak for others.
 
We’ve never known a civilization that didn’t fall victim to this particular scourge in the end, and now at the dawn of the 21st century, the 535 bodies that make up our own Congress are rumbling down the very same road.  The one million dollar question is, are we going to just passively sit in the nosebleed section of the bleachers and watch it happen?
 
Barack Obama swept into the White House riding a wave fueled by America’s desire for change.  The Tea Party is trying to find steady legs by whistling the same tune, counting on the rampant frustration out there that is growing by the day.  But, we are treading on a trap door when we embrace change just for the sake of change without a clear rationale or direction.  It seems the common practice of picking the other party is the misguided concept that is all the rage these days.  The common thinking  is all we have to do is change the Ds to Rs, or vice versa, and things will change.  Unfortunately, the way our government is set up to run, the exact opposite becomes true. When it is too late to make a difference, we realize we embarked on another fool’s errand with more stagnation and corruption of the system becoming the ugly truth once again.
 
It should be an honor to be elected as a legislator.  It should be the spirit of service to the greater good, not ambition for self advancement that drives anyone’s decision to run for office.  Sadly, that has become the exception, not the rule.  To make things even harder to find a diamond in the rough, in today’s information age we are bombarded from all sides with celebrities. They are driven down our throats and engraved into our psyche which makes us comfortable with them, like our favorite old shoes.  And then our gravest weakness is preyed on, our desire to be represented by someone that is just like us, someone with our quirks and faults, someone that we hope can identify with us on a personal level.
 
It is time to take a step back and see how this completely defies logic.  I may be a wiz at “the Google”, but should I be the one diagnosing what ails a sick loved one? Of course not, I want someone better, I want the best.  I want Dr. House on steroids.  I want someone that makes me look like an elementary school drop out.  We should want the same in Washington.  I don’t want the person that wakes up needing to read the headlines to set their direction on any given day, I want the person that can write volumes about tomorrow that will make them seem clairvoyant when tomorrow comes to pass. 
 
The fact that Sarah Palin and the word President are even mentioned in the same sentence is an example of this dilemma, and it chills me to the core.  Has our mighty nation fallen so far?  Have we become such a celebrity addicted people that something like that is even in the realm of possibility? Are mainstream media outlets, corporations beholden to the bottom line, the best place to find the shoes we want to be wearing for the next decade and beyond? Will we be content with the next jack-of-all-trades that is a master of none? Shouldn’t we be moving mountains  instead to find the master of ONE?  It’s like wanting the creator of the Pet Rock to become the new Secretary of the Treasury because he managed to make millions selling something as simple and worthless as a rock.  But, I wouldn’t want the guy that happened to stumble over the leprechaun at the end of the rainbow and found his pot of gold, I want an economic Beethoven, that unique individual that I know is out there, the one that can taste numbers and has always had the gift that would allow them to just sit down and play that particular piano. 
 
Shouldn’t we want the same thing in a legislator?  I can’t speak for you, but that’s what I want. I want the wisdom and moral high ground of a grandparent, the heart of a teenage rebel, and the passion of an artist all rolled into one.  I want an unwavering hero to champion my causes, a knight of the modern world that still puts ethics, honor and integrity above even their own ambitions.  I want someone that feels blessed to be in such a prestigious position, but is still humbled by the power they wield each and every day.  I want someone that towers above mediocrity, not the poster child for it.  I want someone that thinks $155,000  a year is a lot of money and believes they should be working their tail off for us every single day to earn it.  I want someone that would vote against a pay raise for themselves when so many are in dire straits, not because it’s politically savvy, but because it’s right.
 
Barack Obama is president today because the majority of Americans saw these qualities in him.  There is no other feasible explanation that could account for a virtual unknown to ride the rocket from obscurity to leader of the most powerful nation on earth in just two short years.  He vocalized the change we have been seeking. He made sense and stirred that primal instinct we all share to leave the generations of tomorrow a better world.  We gave him the keys and told him to drive, but we seem to want to leave the boot on the car.  That boot is partisan gridlock in Congress and if we want any chance to arrive quickly and safely at our destination, we have to find a way to free up the wheels.  Swapping Ds for Rs, or Rs for Ds at the first opportunity is not going to remove the boot, it will simply put it on another wheel, but the car still won’t move.
 
The stench of congress is overwhelming a majority of Americans now.  Polls show it, pundits talk about it, and we are all starting to smell it ever more potently.  When so many people can smell something  this rotten, rest assured that opportunities will soon be seen on the horizon to change it, but it will be up to us all as individuals to seize the opportunities when they present themselves.  It is up to us to  and make the wise choice and scream with the power of a unified voice that we will not tolerate mediocrity any longer. 
 
We gave President Obama the keys because he had a map that most of us agreed with, otherwise he would not be in office today.  Don’t you think it’s time we took the boot off and let him start our journey forward?  If we find him veering off course in the next three years, we can snatch away his keys and give them to someone else that earns our trust under the hot lights of a presidential election campaign.  But, until Congress strives to find solutions instead of obstacles, we will find ourselves crawling along at a newborn’s pace, and while a baby crawls faster than a Lamborghini with a boot on it, is that the style in which America should be traveling? 
 
We are a nation that has always set the pace, blazed new trails and set an example for the world to follow.  If we don’t start getting that edge back, we will just become another glorious empire relegated to the footnotes of history.  The power is still in our hands, we just have to quit embracing mediocrity in Washington and look past celebrity and name recognition to find those few unique individuals that are the gifted prodigies, the ones that are not like most of us, but something more, the ones that feel honor and pride in being given the privilege to represent our voices and desires.  It is high time we start to do the back-breaking work of panning for gold again if we ever hope to find those precious nuggets that can change our stars from inside Washington. 
 
Time stops for no one, and wasting even one more second in the ridiculous quagmire that Congress has become is a poisonous fruit that we can’t afford another bite of.  So get in the ear of your legislators and let them know that you are not going to take it any more and may the will of the majority finally be done.
 
Partisanship today is serving no one, but somewhere out there are the right people with the right stuff.  We the people deserve nothing less as long as we are willing to part the party fog and turn over every stone to find them.  Until we do, Rome is burning.

 

we the people
The state of our union is strong. 
 
 Ever since George Washington declared the “favorable prospects of our public affairs” in 1790, every president since has taken great care in giving us comfort by expressing to the nation that all is well.  Even during some of our most miserable times, like the Great Depression, or the Vietnam War, the annual address to the nation has always been painted with the brush of optimism and I’m sure that legacy will continue tonight when Barack Obama makes his pitch to the American people about where we are and where we should be trying to go.  But, the sad truth is that our collective future is being held hostage by legislators that seem to have forgotten what their true duties really are, they have forgotten what their commitment and service to the American people should entail and I hope that tonight, somehow, they will be taken to task in a most public and embarrassing way, but it would only be just if this particular tongue lashing was a very bipartisan one because the fault does not lie squarely on any one side.
 
 Just one short year ago, Barack Obama rode into the White House with a clear mandate from the American people to bring change to the long broken culture of Washington and with our precious votes we hoped that we, at long last, found a man that would finally be able to start reining in the power of deep-pocketed special interests and any other obstructionists to our prosperity wherever they were found.  It pains me greatly to say it, but if we were a monarchy, or even worse, an iron-fisted dictatorship, one man may just have been able to do that job, but we are not.  We are a free thinking, free speaking and free living democratic society that have entrusted our future to a chosen few.  We embrace a democracy that was founded on the vision that the voice of the people would be heard above all else and that collectively we would lead our nation to great heights by choosing and voting only those into power that would represent our voice and that through that power of democracy we would choose and empower great individuals that would spend every breath striving to see the vision that we want as a people become realized.  What we seem to have instead is a bunch of selfish egomaniacs that only serve one ambition, self preservation.
 
 Sadly, at this crucial moment in our nation’s history, we are letting them get away with it by means of the far too prevalent flaw that is the bane of the modern era, complacency.  When did we become a nation so fixated on partisan politics that we forgot the true, noble  agendas that formed our parties to begin with?  When did our voices become so weak that we no longer follow the moral compass that allowed us to become the greatest and most advanced nation on earth?  I am disgusted with partisan politics that take into account nothing more than individual agendas, where scoring points for party instead of for country is an accepted mode of governing. 
 
 When Barack Obama exploded onto the national stage with his keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, he did it by rekindling the patriotic fire that makes us proud Americans.  He did it by illuminating the dangerous mockery that the battle of red vs blue has become, he did it by speaking in grander terms than party lines, he did it by connecting to our mutual ambitions, he did it by making us remember that the future we want to create for the generations to follow will not be forged by endless bickering over comparatively small idealistic issues that have long divided us along a partisan line, but by finally stepping over that line to meet the common aspirations we all share, regardless of party affiliations. 
 
 Partisan politics is quickly becoming a grotesque abomination of the mechanism it was intended to be and it has and will continue to cost us all dearly if we keep sitting on the sidelines waiting for any of these Grand Poobas to risk their own political neck in even the most miniscule way.  How dare the Republican caucus approach our president with a preconceived idea to repel any legislation before it is even reasonably discussed for fear that it would show party weakness to do otherwise, even if it would benefit the American people that have done their fair share of suffering under the current unsustainable trajectory that we have been on for too long already.  To me, that borders on treason and should be dealt with by severe means in kind .  By the same token, how dare any Democrat tuck their tail on Health Care Reform because it is harder to pass without a filibuster proof majority, or to threaten to scrap the whole thing because even a single component is not to their liking. That is not how change happens people and it is time we hold them all accountable for their dereliction of their duty to us.  
 
 Barack Obama had a 70% approval rating from the American people when he was sworn into office and it was no mystery that Health Care Reform was one of his main priorities, so why should we be punished for the failure of congress to legislate our wishes? Why should the many Americans that pays for our future with their own blood, sweat, and tears expect any less from those in the halls of power?  If their seat is sacrificed because they stood on principle and not on the party line, they should sacrifice it gladly if they are truly worthy of their position. 
 
 I for one would not be saddened if we would finally remove the little Ds and Rs from everyone’s name on a ballot and make it more about the people’s wishes than the idealism of a particular party. I also would not be at all opposed to limiting congressional terms to the same 8 year limit imposed on our president, maybe then every decision would not be made through the lens of career-oriented, selfish political swordsmanship. 
 
 I know this, the majority of America will agree with Barack Obama tonight on a very personal level because he will rise to the occasion once again and vocalize our collective dreams and aspirations.  He will touch on the same hopes that made the whole world swoon during his historic election and forced even politicians in other countries to change tact because they saw how receptive their own people where to his global message of hope and they heard the grumbling from their own constituents about not having their own Obama-like leader to take the wheel.  But, when the speech is done and the lights are turned off, it will be up to us to hold accountable those that have the true power to make those dreams realities, those that have been granted the privilege to represent US, not themselves or their own best interests. 
 
 For any hope of progress, I think it is high time we realized that our country must be governed from the center, not the far left or far right.  To try to do it any other way will just propagate the stifling gridlock we have come to know all too well and we will never even catch a whiff of the change we so loudly clamored for in 2008.  Our failure to hold the House and Senate accountable for their inaction at this defining moment in our history will bring about nothing but more of the same in the end. 
 
 So tonight, listen with your heart as well as your head and if you agree in part, or in whole, with the direction and agenda that will be laid before you, make your voices heard to those that you put in position to represent you.  Make it your own mission to hold them accountable to get the American gravy train back onto the track it was always meant to be on.  “I must do something” always accomplishes more than “something must be done” and if our legislators in congress are not getting it done, it is up to each and every one of us to make their lives a miserable living hell until they do.  Silence can not be an option.
 
 The greatest thing about our nation is that even in the most dire times, even in the face of the greatest adversities, the one thing that we can always count on is the fact that the state of our ”union” will always be strong.   It is only the state of our partisan “disunion” that could ever threaten to unravel it and that is something that no American should ever stand for. 
What's done, is done

What's done, is done

 

 

I’d like to kick this off by offering my sincere congratulations to Scott Brown for his smart and hard fought victory.  He deserves it.  He did things right.  He took the pulse of the people of Massachusetts, he did some blood tests, he took some x-rays, he looked in their eyes and he made them stick out their tongue and checked their tonsils.  He did the things you have to do to show due diligence in gaining the trust of a person before they are going to put their faith in your hands and allow you to suggest a treatment. Then he simply wrote a prescription, vote for Scott Brown - and just like that, noses were held and the magic elixir was swallowed. For all of you doctors out there, take this as a lesson in just how far the trust earned by a good bed side manner can take you.

 
Scott Brown was also wise enough to use the playbook that Big Pharma has been winning with for years, a playbook that helped him make the elixir he had planned to prescribe all along look familiar and inviting. It also didn’t hurt to have an ace up his sleeve by virtue of an attractive, vibrant and fun-loving family to make commercials that would connect with our desires on a very personal level.  You know the ones I’m talking about, like those anti-depressant commercials that show Miss-happy-go-lucky skipping through a field of flowers, all laughs and smiles. The ones that make you think, yes I’m depressed, I need to have that wonder drug so I can be all laughs and smiles too. I mean come on, who wouldn’t be somewhat touched by a fun snowball fight with dad and the thought of a chance to throw a big, fat snowball at Washington amidst the turmoil brought to life by past administrations that still spins all around us?  Who wouldn’t be just a little taken in by a masterful connection made to every day Americans using nothing more than the prop of a high mileage pickup truck?  But just like those proposed miracles of medicine, after we swallow and our life doesn’t become all laughs and smiles, we will find ourselves scurrying to find the insert that came in the box, only now do we want to read the fine print.
 
So now that it’s been swallowed, let’s finally take a look at the insert, shall we? 
 
Warning:
Using this prescription may have unintended and dire consequences.  Make sure to take with plenty of patience for the status-quo because after it is imbibed, this particular course of treatment cannot be changed or altered until at least November 2010, but the effects will most likely continue until at least November 2012.  Use extreme caution when mixing with hope for change, as an interaction called partisan gridlock will most likely occur. While happiness and prosperity are advertised as possible outcomes of consumption, we make no claim that these things will actually come to pass and we bear no responsibility for the results you may actually experience.  This prescription is intended to serve as a vehicle to voice impatience and frustration with the slow wheels of government in trying to fix long rooted problems like unemployment, health care and economic stagnation and in no way is it meant to reflect the true and noble aspirations of the people of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts or the greater American community at large.  If you find yourself experiencing any of these side effects, feel free to call us at 1-900-2HELL-WITHCHANGE.  You will be charged $2.99 a minute for your call and all proceeds will go directly to blocking needed reform at every possible turn.
 
I hope for all our sakes that Scott Brown turns out to be a phenomenal legislator that brings about new and great things, but I find myself leery when the crux of his campaign was to be the 41st vote against something, not for something to bring about the change that America so resoundingly voted yes to just over a year ago.  I also hope that Scott Brown stays true to his word of not being beholden to anybody except the people, including the Republican caucus, and makes real change his first priority, even if it comes from the other side of the aisle, because I have a feeling that before all is said and done, he too will be tasting the sharp blade of American impatience when the rain doesn’t stop for a few weeks or months.
 
I must say though, that after taking a little time to reflect on this outcome, one thing that refills me with hope again is that Barack Obama has always shown, with nary a detour, that in the face of defeat he is a phoenix. When he lost in New Hampshire? It was welcome to Yes We Can!  The insurmountable Reverend Wright? Let’s have that talk about race!  Hope is just words? Let’s fill stadiums with it!  And now I can’t wait to see him once again take a good long look at the big picture and pack yet another perfect bag of supplies for the hard, arduous climb he faces once again. But, I can honestly say that I have absolutely no doubt that he will again prove worthy of the faith we placed in him as our elected President by reaching the top of the mountain once more.

Sometimes, the direction born from adversity is the road we were always meant to travel in the first place. I think this may prove to be one of those times … and I for one can’t wait to see it unfold and help as best as I can along the way!

I think tomorrow’s history will prove today to be a good day for change after all.