“Salary of U.S. Presidents…$450,000 for life; Salary of House/ Senate members…$174,000 for life ; Salary of Speaker of the House…$223,5000 for life; Salary of Majority/Minority Leaders…$194,400 for life; Average salary of soldier deployed in Afganistan…$38,000; Average income for seniors on Social Security…$12,000.
A friend sent me this list of salaries a few months ago. I am not certain if these figures are accurate, or “up to date” …the politicians have likely given themselves a pay increase since then.
If We the People actually wanted to do something or insisted that our REPRESENTATIVES get something done on our behalf, would we be able to effect ANY change? Are all of those “Salaried for Life”-ers REALLY interested in fixes or more interested in the next campaign?
I admit it, I am jaded to the entire process…and too disgusted to put much energy into it anymore. When I was a young, idealistic Journalism major I knew the latest on all the major domestic and foreign policies and events. Now I try to avoid every thing political like the plague. The Presidential election has gotten my ears perked up a little…but only because it is EVERYWHERE and I would have to be deaf, and blind and live in a hole not to know at least the basics. There is no escaping it. The thought of our broken political system and all of the politicians shouting and posturing makes me think of the William Shakespeare, Macbeth quote “Out, out brief candle! Life’s but a waking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more: it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”
What if Politicians and “Leaders of Men” really were public servants that didn’t care about their moment in the spot light or their 15 minutes of fame and glory? What if no one person got “credit” for any good thing accomplished? What if the mode of operation was to get things done that would have lasting effects on generations to come instead of preventing progress for the sake of obstructing the other party? What if all leaders had to take a pledge before they were placed in their position of power like a Physician’s Oath: “I solemnly pledge myself to consecrate my life to the service of humanity; …I will practice my profession with conscience and dignity;…My colleagues will be my brothers and sisters;….I will not permit considerations of religion, nationality, race, gender, politics, socioeconomic standing or sexual orientation to intervene between my duty and my (constituent);…I make these promises solemnly, freely and upon my honour.”…Or a version of the Hippocratic Oath, “I will make and defend laws for the good of all citizens according to my ability and judgement and never do harm to anyone…”
I feel like trying to personally make a difference through a political avenue would be equivalent to traveling from here to Washington D.C. on a tricycle with square wheels…over Alabama’s unbelievably terrible interstate roads…and then going up and over winding hair pin mountain curves, then losing a wheels somewhere and having to hoof it through crunchy peanut butter up to my thigh for the last several hundred miles. The thought of that type of journey makes me exhausted. I want to give up! Just throw up my hands and say, “This is ridiculous! What a waste of effort! I am never going to get there and if I did, I already know that nothing would get done. It is a black hole…where idealism goes to die a tragic death…or good people turn into professionals who live their life to “Strike a deal” …professing to “reach across the aisle”…but then proudly having a voting record where they vote along party lines 100% of the time.
Why bother? How in the world could I make a difference. For one thing, if I made it to Washington D.C. I wouldn’t really have a side of the aisle, as I fundamentally disagree with everyone up there. See, I have issue with KNOWING that most of us normal people are not going to check facts…or read the fine print…or pay attention to the people who try to call out the false claims. Most of us are doing well to watch or read the news or tune into at least one of the debates.
I have an even bigger problem with people not being who they really are. Give me a person who is genuine ANY DAY …either I will like them or not, and either they will like me, or not. But either way we will know exactly where we stand with each other. DO NOT ANY DAY EVER, PLEASE, give me a person who smiles and says what they think I want to hear…and tells the person behind me what they want to hear…and the next person what they want to hear…and each time the message changes. JUST TELL ME WHO YOU ARE and WHAT YOU STAND FOR. Do YOU even know?
“You’re entitled to your own opinion. You’re NOT entitled to your own facts.” Making opinions seem like facts is the way of the modern world. Making opinions seem like truth is the choice mode of operation.
Maybe it is my “opinion”, but our “Democracy/ Republic” Political System pays a unrepresentative amount of money and provides exceptional life-long benefits for almost exclusively already wealthy people with benefits. And to what ends? …them making extremely unexceptional progress to NOT solve problems they were put in power to solve. If any other worker who was hired to do a job (except any another government job) got so little accomplished, they would be FIRED. And they would not get a SALARY and BENEFITS FOR LIFE.
The lesson here, in my “opinion”, seems to be that the Rich and the Powerful will do whatever it takes to remain rich and powerful… Lie, perjure themselves, bear false witness. Is it possible that after a while they even start to believe all of their own lies?
I recently heard a debate that there are lawmakers that want to make it against the law for individuals to lie. It is already against the law, supposedly, to perjure oneself under oath… or to impersonate a police officer. But it isn’t against the law for people to make false claims that they served in the military or even that they were decorated officers. There are elected officials who were placed in their positions based on their false claims of bravery and military service.
Who holds liars accountable? Some people argue that when the truth comes out, the shame of being found out and the natural consequences to follow are enough of a penalty. But what if the lies aren’t just to seek glory for one’s self? What if the lies actually hurt other people? Does it matter if the lies told to damage are done purposefully? Who holds the person accountable who lays their hand on a Bible to “Tell the Truth the Whole Truth and Nothing but the Truth So Help Me God?” What if that person doesn’t believe in a god… or a hell… or that there will be any repercussion to themselves? What if the liar is so used to their lies working and getting everything they want just like they want it when they want it, that their arrogance and confidence and knowledge of how the system works, has already given them the courage to say and do whatever they want because they have never had anyone challenge them. They always win. The ends always justify the means.
Who will police the lies. When they are found out, who will make the lies known… who will believe them? who will care?Who will hold the contemptible in contempt…will we go ahead and vote for bad and flawed men or women because, “after all, who else is there?…Everybody is flawed, right…we just have to choose the lesser of two evils.., right?” Ugh. Maybe that is true…but ugh. Does it have to be that way? How many people are there in this country, after all? How many “representatives”? SURELY we can find that many good men and women.
There will always be wicked and evil people who scheme and plot and seek power for their own ends. By my hope for them, like my hope for any guilty person, is that they will be redeemed. According to a Webster with more qualifications for accurate word definitions than me, Redeem means: “recover, to pay off, to turn in, to ransom, to deliver from sin, to fulfill a promise, to make amends or atone for, to restore oneself to favor.”
There were two criminals that were led out to be executed with Jesus, “one on his right, the other on his left.” Luke 23:33. “One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Christ? Save yourself and us!” But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.” Luke 23:39-43.
I know that changing someone else is beyond my power. I know that in an election the most important thing to remember is that regardless of what man holds power temporarily, God has complete power eternally. By my actions some things may get accomplished, but through the power of prayer…ALL of our praying.. anything and all things are possible. Regardless of who we vote for…or even if we don’t vote…PRAY for our Nation… that all of our leaders are guided in selfless wisdom and justice and mercy, and not in selfish desires. Let’s pray that God’s WILL BE DONE on Earth. God is in control…but we NEED to acknowledge that and trust in that.
That is not an opinion.