What can you expect if you work for the government? If the commercials from the past are to be believed you could expect to see the world if you joined the Army and expect adventure if you joined the Navy. And though, for the most part, job security both depended almost solely on avoiding injury or death, one of the problems with joining either one is that you have many bosses and little freedom.
However, there is a government job one can apply for where you can see the world, as they use to in the Army, live the adventure, as they use to in the Navy, without both the physical hazards of being shot at and the annoyance of being accountable to anyone.
But the benefits don't stop there. These federal employees enjoy good pay, excellent healthcare benefits, well above average travel benefits, federal retirement benefits, very grateful and generous friends, they can moonlight as long as they don't earn over 15% of the pay, but they can earn an unlimited amount from investments which can often be made with insider information.
And thanks to gerrymandering and the two-party system, job security can range anywhere between 85% to 98% for one job and from 79% to 95% for the other since the year 2000. We should note however that during the last time when jobs were at stake, over 90% each retained employment. What jobs are we talking about here? The jobs that offer this are becoming a U.S Senator or Congressperson.
Now the question of the day becomes with all of these perks sans hassles, are our Senators and Representatives earning their keep? That question can be answered by asking another question. The question we need to ask is, in what direction are our elected officials taking our country?
To the casual observer, it seems like the Republicans want to take country in one direction while the Democrats want to take it in another. But a number of my fellow Leftists believe that both major parties are taking our country in the same direction. That direction one that is hazardous to both our freedom and health. Then what would be the difference between them? I liken it to when I travel to NYC for going to an Occupy Wall Street event at Liberty Square. I always take the subway to the Fulton Street station from the Port Authority Bus Terminal. I can either take the A Train, that is the express train, or the C Train, the local. The difference between them is that the express train is faster because it makes fewer stops.
This difference between the trains is difference between the Republican and Democratic parties. The Republican is the express train. It wants to reach its destination with as few stops as possible. That is why it is it wants to cut more regulations and taxes on businesses, especially the major players, while reducing benefits for the vulnerable.
The Democrats, however, want, at best, to add a few regulations and other obligations on major corporations and financial institutions. But, in the end, they are still ending up at the same final destination as the Republicans.
It is under the Democrats that we also have the bailouts of the financial institutions responsible for economic collapse, increased protection for major banks and other financial institutions from criminal prosecution for fraudulent and criminal activity, a new healthcare system that rewards the healthcare industry by garnering more business for the insurance agencies as well as not holding in check the costs that come from other facets of the healthcare industry, and secret negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) that liberalizes trade, and thus weakens the sovereignty of nations to the demands of corporations.
In addition, Obama has placed the ratification of the TPP on the fast track which means that there will be minimal time for examination and debate on the treaty. We should also note President Obama's decision to support the pipeline that would carry tar sands oil through the US for processing despite the negative environmental impact the use of such oil causes. In addition, we have even more military spending than under Bush which has increased the profits of the military industrial complex. We could also consider how our Senate passed an amendment that prevents states from requiring that GMO products be labeled.
Finally, while the Democrats plan to spend this country into insolvency, the Republicans want to use tax cuts for major corporations and financial institutions to choke our country into insolvency. And both have done their fair-share in cutting regulations that limit the negative impact that the actions of major corporations and financial institutions have on society. The elimination of the Glass-Steagall Act during the Clinton Administration was a major factor in the economic collapse of 2008 while the passing of NAFTA also hurt the economy while benefitting corporations. In addition, necessary regulations that would prevent our financial institutions from falling into another economic collapse were never passed.
The above is just the business end of things, we also have issues concerning the abuse of government power. Note that what had begun with President Bush's Patriot Act is enhanced with President Obama's NDAA of 2012. Provisions in that act allow the US president to indefinitely detain any American citizen without due process. And when we add to that the revelations of the surveillance which the NDA conducts on the whole country along with the President's power to order the assassination of anyone in the world, again, without due process shows a strengthening the executive power in our country.
So what is the real difference between the Republicans and the Democrats? Perhaps the Democrats toss out a few social justice bones here or there while the Republicans want to cut the chains of social responsibility that further impede corporations from maximizing profits. Another difference we could cite is that while Democrats want to create more dependency on the government in some cases, the Republicans want to create just as much dependency on power elites from the private sector. To complete this task Republicans have to get government to fail.
In the end, people have less power and ability to control their lives while being more accountable to those in power. In the meantime, government and corporations have more power over our lives with less accountability. So what is the difference between the two parties?
We only have ourselves to blame for our tragic current state of affairs. For we have allowed those seeking power to define America in a way that forces us to choose between remaining American or changing with the times. In other words, we have been tricked into conforming and remaining compliant with both public and private sector elites.
How can we change? The first thing we need to do is to choose another destination and we can't choose another destination by taking either the A or C trains. For as long as we either stay with the Republicans or Democrats, or we try to prove our independence by becoming bipolar, we will end up at the same destination--one of self-destruction.
Another way we can change is to become more involved in all levels of politics than what we are accustomed to. Too many of us want a laissez-faire relationship with our government. Thus, what we want is for our politicians not to bother us between elections. But such a relationship tempts those who are elected to either maintain or increase their hold on political power. And to do that, they have court those with money. Unless we challenge corporate and special interest money with numbers and involvement, our elected officials learn to do the bidding of others.
If we want change, we need to overcome the reasons why we are not involved in the political issues of the day. For some, busyness and fatigue kill the desire to be informed and involved. Such people need to realize that the more they give into busyness and fatigue, the more control of their lives they give to others. In addition, they should realize that if a way of life prevents one from being able to exercise some control over what their country does, then perhaps that way of life needs to change.
Others just want to have too much fun to have to be serious at times. My fellow Conservative Christians prefer to hide in our theology just as an ostrich hides its head in the sand. Here we become similar to those who are having too much fun to be involved only the "fun" we choose is spiritual. Thus, we use theology not to spur us on to greater stewardship but as a bubble to shield us from the troubles and cares of the world. The world makes us feel anxious while our theology gives us comfort. So we prefer to be passive to the world and enjoy the comfort provided by theology.
These are the choices we have to change the direction of our country. We need to choose a different destination and thus we have to find another train to ride. And we have to become involved despite our life's circumstances. Without changing in these ways, we will automatically opt for the A and C trains both of which are taking us to our doom.
|This Month's Scripture Verse:|
Whoever loves money never has enough;
whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income.
This too is meaningless -- Ecclesiastes 5:10