Brutally Honest Audio Rant: On Fixing Congress
(Computer – Introduction)
(Music intro – "American Idiot Remix" – by Green Day and David Matthews 2)
Good evening, and welcome to this week’s Brutally Honest Rant. I’m David Matthews 2, writer of the weekly online column Brutally Honest.
You know what’s really annoying about our government? It’s how easy things get whitewashed. Even the most egregious violations of our trust and our money get swept under the rug… and sometimes it even happens right in front of us!
Back when I lived in the southwestern part of Georgia for about five years, I used to hear all of this news from Tallahassee, Florida, because I lived about forty-five minutes north of Florida’s capital. And one of the stories that just absolutely blew my mind was how that state’s legislature bought the silence of a woman who was the victim of sexual harassment by one of their own. This came out around the time of the Clarence Thomas/Anita Hill issue, so "sexual harassment" was still a big subject. And some of this woman’s accounts were pretty damning. One incident pretty much fell under the category of attempted rape.
Now, nobody questioned the validity of the woman’s accusations. Nobody challenged her accusations or called her a liar… well except for the legislator himself. The hierarchy in the state legislature simply paid to settle the case and sealed it under a confidentiality clause. She could not tell anyone about it or of what happened to her.
So how did it any of this come out and be made public? Well this prick-bastard of a state legislator did that! During the whole Anita Hill issue he started blabbing to his friends and to associates about how he paid this woman to shut up about his actions, and called her every name in the book except a child of God. You see, SHE couldn’t say a word about the matter, but he could. She couldn’t even defend herself against his attacks on her character. Then they found out that the state legislature really didn’t have the authority to either issue a secret settlement or to seal it under a confidentiality clause. But they were so preoccupied with THIS matter – about the settlement itself and how it was breached – that they completely forgot about the abusive sexual harassment case itself! And what really infuriated me was that after all of this press…after all of this public outrage and how everyone says that this kind of activity is wrong… that this legislator essentially got away with it… because of who he was.
I think it was really THAT incident that really opened my eyes to the abuse of power going on in governments large and small, and it never got any better from there. I keep on expecting these politicians to somehow take a hint, especially after some of these upset elections, but they simply refuse to learn!
I got pissed off about how members of the US House and the US Senate could get away with things like writing bad checks from their own bank, or voting themselves a pay raise in the dead of night, or sneaking in pork-barrel spending. Every year Congress ignores their own annual budget deadline of October 1st and nobody calls them on it. And yet they EXPECT all private businesses to adhere to standards that they themselves cannot follow. It’s infuriating to see this happen! It really is! And these guys get away with just about everything!
Ethics committees? What a joke! They should be called WHITEWASH committees, because that’s what they really are! They just WASH their hands clean of the matter and then just get on with the business of screwing over the taxpayers.
And every year we keep on hearing about how things are going to be different! When the GOP took over Congress in January of 1995, they made a big presentation about how THEY would do things differently… with HONOR and INTEGRITY and ETHICS. Remember that? Remember all of the promises made with their Contract with America?
Now look at what’s happened to them! We have members of Congress either indicted, convicted, or under suspicion of accepting bribes from lobbying groups. We have a former House Majority Leader who tried to have the rules changed so he would keep his position even after he was indicted. We have a Senate majority leader who thinks that his training as a HEART specialist gives him the God-like ability to diagnose on the floor of the Senate in Washington DC the condition of a severely BRAIN-damaged woman in Florida! And nobody thinks anything of it, do they? We have members of Congress that get up on their respective floors and declare that even the most repressive bill before them is constitutional simply because THEY said so! And if a judge that is schooled in matters of the Constitution says otherwise, then the JUDGE is accused of "legislating from the bench"… but NOBODY accuses the politicians of passing judgement from the dais! Now THAT’S arrogance!
So like some of you, I think that it’s high time that we fix the system. We’ve got a great system of government in place, but let’s get brutally honest here… it’s been so badly corrupted and corroded by the people inside the system that it needs some SERIOUS tinkering around to get things to work again. We can’t simply vote the bastards out and vote in a new bunch of bastards from the opposing major political party. These hucksters have swapped parties around so many times that you can no longer tell the difference between the Dems and the Reps! They support certain positions when they are to his or her advantage and then hypocritize themselves when the situation calls for it and nobody calls them on it.
So then the next question is… HOW do we fix the system? What do we do to fix it? What needs to be changed? It’s one thing to say that there is a problem… it’s another to actually come up with a solution. That in and of itself contributes to the problem… we all admit that there IS a problem with the system but nobody has the courage to come up with ways to fix it! We need to actually take a blue pencil to the system and say "change this" or "change that" and put those fixes in so that you know there ARE definitive changes instead of just talking about how things should be "different".