“We in America do not have government by the majority. We have government by the majority who participate.”
― Thomas Jefferson, third President of the United States and the primary author of the Declaration of Independence
It’s fitting that I’ve been writing a series on toilets for almost two weeks, because a rant about politics melds nicely with a nasty throne. My blog is not a polemic. It’s primary purpose is to exercise my writing muscles by both informing and entertaining anyone who cares to read it.
It sickened me to read this series in the Washington Post this week, a detailed investigative report on the stock trades of members of the United States Congress in the lead up to the financial crisis in 2008. The series identified 34 members of Congress, from both political parties, who initiated trades, many within 24 hours after meetings with principals in the United States Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve.
Thirty-four of our elected officials possibly committed the same crime for which Martha Stewart was excoriated and served time in prison. CEO Jeff Skilling was convicted of insider trading in 2006 as part of the fall of Enron. Michael Milken and Ivan Boesky – those names ring any bells?
If I had acted upon the same exact information our elected representatives most likely had, I too would be bound for jail.
According to Wikipedia, it is not technically illegal for members of the United States Congress to profit from knowledge they may gain in their positions, but the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act (SCORE), passed earlier this year, sought to limit the financial gains of our leaders in a puff piece of legislation that basically turns every type of information they could ever hear into “public” data. Why would they pass something that would limit themselves, after all?
Not one major news outlet that I can find has covered this story or expressed outrage about the financial gains these people had while my pathetic stock portfolio dropped by almost half. I can’t find anything on CNN. Nothing on Fox News. Ditto MSNBC and the networks. Please correct me if I missed it, because I’m not the most detailed-oriented person I know.
My problem with this story doesn’t lie with our elected officials. I expect them ALL – regardless of party – to be sleaze bags who are out for number one. They spend all their time raising money to get re-elected and passing laws to benefit themselves and their cronies, and they DO NOT CARE ABOUT ME. Period.
What bothers me is the apathy of the average American. The “I can’t do anything about it” mentality. The divisive clinging to the party line, or the feeling that a vote is merely a choice between the lesser of two evils.
Wake up, American voter. Our entire political process is broken. It’s suffused with corruption, regardless of party. You participate with your vote. If we continue to stand by and vote the same self-serving, bilious people into office – or if we refuse to exercise our right to vote at all – we deserve the government we get.
The United States Congress is the worst toilet imaginable. Let’s flush every single running incumbent out of office this November. I fear it’s the only way We the People have a chance.