In fact, it could be established that the mere act of running a campaign should automatically disqualify anyone from actually serving in a public office. The plain conduct of lowering oneself to accepting money from the minority that can afford to contribute to political campaigns in exchange for taking possession of whatever passes for a politician's soul should be enough to declare the candidate morally bankrupt if not outright a crook.
Consider the facts. Our President has been under constant scrutiny over his real estate deals and requests for government files and, well, who can keep track of the rest? The Speaker of the House has admitted to numerous instances of lying to Congress and filing fraudulent legal papers in regards to many tax and charity laws he has repeatedly broken. Both parties have accepted, even begged for, contributions from the wealthy citizens of foreign countries, which is illegal under the law. Both parties openly sell access to their candidates and to their elected officials in exchange for specific and very large amounts of campaign cash. Nearly every bill enacted into law carries riders that have absolutely nothing to do with the new law but, rather, quietly repays contributors by giving them special tax treatment or other favors that the rest of us can only dream about.
Gentle readers, it is far past the time for we, the citizens, to demand action. I suggest a number of "reforms" (oh, how politicians love that word unless it applies to their turf). Each, in and of itself, will only limit the damage our elected officials cause each year. Taken together these recommendations will force them to re-establish the idea that they were elected to represent all of the voters, not just their financial masters.
First, let's remove Congress's power to investigate themselves or other elected officials. This only serves to give little, narrow minded people the power to wreak havoc on anyone who was elected who has a different political philosophy. Establish a separate department of elected individuals from across the political spectrum to conduct whatever investigations that the department deems necessary. The facts that are then discovered would be directed to the responsible and pertinent court for action. A time limit would be put on these investigations and, if insufficient proof is uncovered in that time, a reasonable period, say two years, will have to elapse before the investigation can be reopened.
This will negate the completely asinine Congressional committees that sit for years picking at the same evidence over and over without being able to find a crime or the courage to admit that the entire process was unnecessary.
Next, let's put some teeth in the campaign laws. We, the nation's citizens, are expected to follow all of the laws that these legislators pass and the same must be required of them. If they cannot keep within the law in these cases, they cannot serve as elected or appointed officials. If they are found guilty during the campaign, they cannot be elected, regardless of the eventual vote. If they are found guilty after taking office, they are automatically removed immediately from that office and a special election held to replace them. It is of utmost importance that all government officials be held to the highest standard of conduct, in regard to their official duties or campaigns, and that the punishments for breaking that confidence and laws are the strictest possible. Hey, folks, the first time half of the elected officials from a ballot are automatically removed from office within the first year or so, the rest will very quickly get the message that we sent.
Finally, I believe that we should remove the power that Congress has to set its own salary, pension, medical benefits and the like. Put their entire package up individually for a national vote. We will determine their pay and benefits, preferably setting them at the low end of the average for all Americans. Perhaps if they were forced to live on what the rest of us have as income and benefits, they would be a tad more adamant that our nation's corporations treat their employees better and make life for all of us a bit better.
Okay, that's about it for now. I don't write opinion pieces often but we must begin to examine what we can do to force these people to remember who we are. Remember, in the overall scheme of things in the political arena, you do not matter. You have no representation nor are your best interests ever considered. Depressing? Yes! True? Yes! Now do something about changing it.
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