'Last week we attended Congressman Lincoln Davis’s Town Hall Meeting. It was the most unsatisfying event I’ve ever attended. It was packed, and the doors were locked prior to the start. The County Mayor and the Sheriff were turned away! And they are Democrats! We were there early, and had seats. For 3 hours, Davis sat on the stage with a foot high stack of paper in front of him (one of the proposed bills), while dozens of citizens lined both aisles to speak. Five people were pro-Obamacare, and all the rest were opposed. Tort reform and insurance sales across state lines were suggested by many. There was one 85 year old nut that called Obama an a**hole, but that was as ugly as it got – and he was lightly booed. Several people had read the proposed legislation, and quoted page and line, then explained why they were opposed. Also, many people pointed out that he was sent to represent middle Tennessee, not the Democratic party. These were normal middle-class people of all ages – the young were as concerned as the seniors.
At the end, Davis had the opportunity to win friends and respect by just acknowledging that he understood their concerns. He chose to ‘recognize’ a guy in the audience from his hometown, and asked if the guy remembered his grandad, who had a 50 caliber gun. Then he said that he was a big supporter of gun rights, and that he was a Baptist, and would never support a health care bill that stated that abortion would be government funded. It was unbelievable – he may as well have patted everyone on the head! He didn’t address the concerns of the group, and I will surely work hard for whoever runs against him next time.'
American needs a new set of politicians, from top to bottom. When I lived in Alabama, I met quite a few US politicians. Al Gore came to our campus, Senator Richard Shelby too, even the very recently deceased Sen. Ted Kennedy came to the Space Center. Shelby impressed me, but even way back in the mid-eighties Gores vanity was in full flower. Ted Kennedy (I'll try not to speak ill of the dead) seemed like an empty suit rather than anything else. But my overall impression was that almost universally the great country that is the United States was not led by great men and women. Some representatives seemed of below normal intelligence, had very poor reasoning skills, and appeared very poorly educated. Why? I have no idea.
But what has happened over the last couple of months is a huge grass-roots re-engagement by many Americans in their own governance. And they have noticed the very poor quality of their representation. Many of them are probably thinking right now, hell, if thats the standard I could be a representative! And they are absolutely right. Many ordinary American citizens have a firmer grasp of the essential facts than do thier representatives. Many of the long term incumbentocracy in the state capitals and Washington DC are just not used to having to pay attention. Their lives are blissfully easy. They know that 99% of the time, whispering sweet nothings to the electorate plus name recognition will get them yet another term twiddling their fingers in a cushy, well-paid sinecure. As the Lil' Abner song says, 'Sittin around on their thigh-bones, sittin around on their you-know-whats in the great congressional parking lot'.
Obama's campaign repeated many of the stock promises that Presidential hopefuls always trot out, about a clean sweep of Washington, getting rid of the sleazy nests of lobbyists, greater transparency of the government etc etc. But he dwealt long and lustily about changing the way that Washington did its business. Has anything changed? Absolutely nothing. The lobbyists don't pay court to the Republicans anymore, thats true. They pay court to the Democrats. But thats not changing how business is done, thats just turning your chair around to face the other way...
Most Americans by now realise that the torrent of sincerity that poured forth from Barack Obama was a simulacrum. Know the old saying? "The most important thing is sincerity. Once you can fake that, you've got it made". Little old ladies all across America fell in love with the deep-voiced tall handsome sincere Mr Obama. Shame he's a fake. Shame that 99.9% of what he said he doesn't actually believe and won't actually follow through on. And those little old ladies will be sharpening their pencils awaiting an opportunity to pay him back for his deception.
I hope that many of the people discussing openly running for office next time round do so- Bill Whittle, Joe the Plumber and thousands more across the US. There are no prerequisites needed, other than a modest gift of intelligence, a commitment to public duty, and the common moral underpinning that Americans have taken into public office for at least 230 years. Go get 'em!