I ran across this piece of writing just after I wrote my It’s What Lights Do post.
A journalist for 49 years, Charlie Reese is retiring and in his last column, published in the Orlando Sentinel, he shines a light (pun intended) on the balance of power in our current political system and challenges us to reject the narrative of darkness that holds us transfixed and feeling powerless and step into the narrative of our much greater shining. Here are some highlights from his column.
Politicians are the only people in the world who create problems and then campaign against them.
Have you ever wondered, if both the Democrats and Republicans are against deficits, WHY do we have deficits? Have you ever wondered, if all the politicians are against inflation and high taxes, WHY do we have inflation and high taxes?
You and I don’t propose a federal budget. The President does. You and I don’t have the Constitutional authority to vote on appropriations. The House of Representatives does. You and I don’t write the tax code, Congress does. You and I don’t set fiscal policy, Congress does.
One hundred senators, 435 congressmen, one President, and nine Supreme Court justices equates to 545 human beings out of 300 million who are directly, legally, morally, and individually responsible for the domestic problems that plague this country.
Those 545 human beings spend much of their energy convincing you that what they did is not their fault.
If the tax code is unfair, it’s because they want it unfair. If the budget is in the red, it’s because they want it in the red. If the Army and Marines are in Iraq and Afghanistan it’s because they want them in Iraq and Afghanistan. If they do not receive social security but are on an elite retirement plan not available to the people, it’s because they want it that way.
There are no insoluble government problems.
Do not let these 545 people shift the blame to bureaucrats, whom they hire and whose jobs they can abolish; to lobbyists, whose gifts and advice they can reject; to regulators, to whom they give the power to regulate and from whom they can take this power.
Above all, do not let them con you into the belief that there exists disembodied mystical forces like “the economy,” “inflation,” or “politics” that prevent them from doing what they take an oath to do.
Those 545 people, and they alone, are responsible. They, and they alone, have the power. They, and they alone should be held accountable. We should vote all of them out of office and clean up their mess!
Judith – firstname.lastname@example.org