Getting anything done in Washington seems impossible. Up to us to demand work and results from our representatives, which will only get done with cooperation.
Getting something done in Washington seems to be a near impossible these days. For some reason, a large number of our representatives don’t seem to feel that they have any obligation to actually perform work, after all, opposing everything the President wants to accomplish is a full time job, is it not? And the members of his own party sheepishly chose to run away from him and his accomplishments in the mid term elections, to their great detriment and disastrous results.
Like many Americans, I am fed up with the whole bunch of them and wish we could replace them all. PollingReport.com shows congress approval rating averaging at 14% during mid term elections 2014. As outlined in a great article by Politifact.com, if you look at races for Congress, 96.6 percent of incumbents won, and if you add the Senate, 23 out of 26 incumbents won which puts us at a combined House-Senate incumbent winning percentage of 95.4 percent (some races have yet to be decided like Louisiana Mary Landrieu and Alaska Mark Begich). These facts make the meme, sent to Politifact.com by a reader (below) of 11% approval rating and 96.4 incumbent reelection close enough.
Political talking heads and pundits can either play journalist, bringing facts (investigative reporting) and an unbiased perspective to the process, or they can argue the point of view of the party and ideology they believe in and follow. The former informs the public and advances the debate, while the latter simply inflames ideology based partisanship and enables the vitriol.
The Chuck Todd and Chris Mattthews exchange in the video clip above, illustrates this point. While Todd seems to think his role is to criticize the administration on what he perceives is their shortcomings, without actually stating facts, Matthews attempted to engage in a conversation about how to move forward and get something done, to which Todd replied with how the Republicans will twist his words and use them to attack the President.
There are two years left in this administration and there are mountains of work to be done for the American people, in addition to accomplishments to build upon. Some of which are:
1. Immigration reform (Obama’s impending executive order to temporarily halt deportations and provide work permits to 3.6 million immigrants who have US citizen kids is a start, and no it is not Amnesty).
2. Tax reform, infrastructure and employment to capitalize on the last 56 straight months of job growth in the private sector
3. Healthcare fine tuning and expansion to capitalize on the success of ACA, conclude nuclear negotiations with Iran
4. Tackle climate change and capitalize on the recent climate deal with China.
5. Energy for the present and future as oil prices fall (dispense with the Keystone pipeline that will provide few jobs and miniscule, if any, benefit to America (except to some individual pockets), while making us a pass through for Canadian dirty oil exports while we assume all the risk of spills and ecological disasters for no benefit.
6. Streamlining and improving our virtual infrastructure for affordable, reliable and quality internet services and products for both business and individuals.
7. Affordable higher education for everyone with low interest rate college loans and grants to invest in our future workforce.
8. Investing in R&D and manufacturing in America.
9. Continue to build and expand a strong international coalition to fight threats, like ISIS, expand international cooperation and resources to fight and eradicate threats like Ebola; and…
However, nothing will continue to get done if we don’t demand productivity. The knee jerk reaction every two to four years to change power in DC without demanding work gets done is destructive, counter productive and complete waste of everyone’s time and all of our resources.
What needs our close attention are initiatives that won on state level, including increase of minimum wage (now 23 states (26 in January have a minimum wage higher than the federal $7.25), legalization of marijuana in 3 more states, paid sick leave (Massachusetts), banning GMOs (Hawaii), background checks for gun shows (Washington State), to name a few.
With lower and lower turnouts for mid term elections (2014 midterm elections turnout is lowest in 70 years) at a pathetic 36.4 percent, there is no doubt that the will of the people is nowhere to be found in Washington and in the ideological battles of DC politics.
Every American has their favorite problem issues and ideas of what needs to be fixed and how to fix it. A few that come to mind for the hit parade are:
1. The economy which is growing and improving but not for all.
2. Unemployment at 5.8%, lowest in 6 year, but too many still can’t find jobs.
3. Tax reform to close loopholes and make system more fair and equitable.
4. Healthcare, more insured and getting better plans, some pay more and many not aware of benefits.
5. Income inequality, serious growing problem, which will destroy economy of not addressed.
6. Climate change, national security threat according to the Pentagon and real, must be addressed.
7. Rational and reasonable gun control, favored by a majority of Americans.
8. Better functioning Government (less corruption and less influence of interest groups and the uber rich), working for the benefit of all people and the nation.
And I’m sure you could add many more. However, nothing will get done if “we the people” don’t demand it and hold our representatives to task. And the only way we can do that is by voting in our best interests for productivity and work and not out of anger with the intent to punish. Advanced democracy is hard and citizens in such a democracy (like our republic) have to get involved and stay involved if we want our rights, interests and prosperity to continue and grow. It is up to all of us, regardless of political party or ideology affiliation, to participate in the process, and at minimum, vote in every election. If we don’t do it, there is no one else that will.
Photo2: Screenshot /Plitifact.com