Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Politics and the Debt Ceiling--Shamey on You, Goddammit

When I was a kid, the worst thing my father could ever say was when he would bend over and look right in my face, lower his voice and say “Shamey on you.” It didn’t matter if the offense were slight or perceived rather than real or if, later on, it was something that was just a matter of a difference in opinion. Shame was the weapon of choice, the weapon of mass destruction.

I’ve been thinking about that recently in those times when I allow myself to think about what has been going on in our Congress and in the White House and in the relationship of the “governed” to the “government”. I don’t let myself think on this very much because it’s just too infuriating. Debt ceiling talks, war, the economy, health care coverage debacles…the never ending litany of contentiousness never lets up.

The biggest reason I don’t let myself think much on these things is the sense of helplessness and hopelessness that I feel day in and day out when it comes to things in my government.

And lately something else has dawned on me—I’m ashamed.

I’m ashamed of my government. I’m ashamed of those who represent me at the local, county, state and federal level. I’m ashamed of America.

None of this crap over the last several weeks about debt limits had to happen. It’s all been about power and posturing and positioning. (Notice that neither the word “govern” nor any of its permutations appeared there). And I’m sick and tired of it. I’m ashamed of my government which means that I should probably be ashamed of myself because of the “of the people, by the people, for the people” bull-crap.

I’m ashamed of the “teabaggers” who, even though they are actively engaged, have an agenda which, to me anyway, is both selfish and racist. I’m more ashamed of liberals like me who weep and wail and shout out “no fair” like petulant whiners on a playground when not given a turn at being the server in four-square.

And I’m ashamed of the whole stinking, lousy system which has degenerated into one where the only concern is power for the sake of power and money for the sake of money. For all intents and purposes we have devolved into an affluent (for now) 3rd world nation.

And when I really think about it, I’m mostly ashamed right now of our Congress. It’s seems to be all about power and contentiousness with not a lick of concern for governance. Not a lick of concern about “the consent of the governed”.

I don’t have to go any further than my own “backyard”—except I don’t have a backyard. My Congressman is Darrell Issa. He lives in my city. His business is in my city. He rarely, if ever, shows up in my city and especially not in my neighborhood which is largely made up of lower-income Hispanic families. He doesn’t care about this part of his district because there’s no money here. No money.

But he’ll show up occasionally on the other side of the highway in the gated communities. Where all the white folks are. Where the teabaggers live.

That’s what we have to put up with today.

And yes indeed, I am also ashamed of our President. In this whole debt limit debacle he never, ever came up with his own plan or proposal. That’s not leadership. He reminded me more of the “Great Appeaser” Neville Chamberlin than of a president of the United States. His “audacity” disappeared a while ago. Now I wonder if there’s any more “hope.

Lastly, here’s a video clip from YouTube. It’s one of my all-time favorite movie scenes—Al Pacino in “And Justice for All” for which he received a Best Actor Academy Award nomination in 1979. There are 3 statements in here that to me are incredibly moving and important: “Don’t you care?” “They’re people.” And the pain and frustration driven, “Goddammit”.

To all you Washington politicians from the Congress to the President on down: “Shamey on you”

1 comment:

  1. WALLY,do you feel better now? What a rant. I have got to tell you, I agree with a lot of what you're saying.

    Jerry Mac