On the EDge: Hang on, it’s going to be a bumpy ride

Image composite, St. George News

OPINION – You don’t need the psychic abilities of Nostradamus to understand that we are on the threshold of a very important year.

How we prioritize it all is a matter of personal judgment, although it would be difficult to point to something more important than the impending election.

Whether we have the ability to supplant the oligarchy that has kicked democracy to the curb or not remains to be seen.

But, we’ve got to give it our best shot, even though the field is fairly thin.

While the race for the White House is important, it pales in comparison with the Congressional races because the root of the nation’s problems lies within a House and Senate bent on mutual political destruction to prove its combating ideological precepts.

Of course, it is quite easy to be hardline when you have the bucks to back you up.

And, the members of Congress certainly have the bucks, with more than 50 percent worth a million dollars or more.

Now, I realize that a million dollars isn’t quite what it used to be, but considering the economic discrepancies in the U.S., it represents a far better financial position than the overwhelming majority of the voting – and, nonvoting, as a matter of fact – public.

They made all that money representing special interests, not our interests, yet we cling to the foolish notion that our guys are the good guys and the others are from the dark side.

It just doesn’t sit well.

At least not with me.

How can somebody with a nice fat paycheck, with ancillary money rolling in from special interests and lobbyists, relate to me or any other working stiff? How many of them worry about a monthly car payment? How many worry about the outrageous cost of health care or sweating out the monthly electric bill?

These folks can’t relate to you or me, yet they are the ones passing laws and appropriating money that comes from taxes generated by our hard work.

There’s a lot of focus right now on Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton and the others, but have we really seen much about our incumbent Congressional members and those who would challenge them?

But, my friends, that is where the essence of our troubles, as a nation, lie.

Stop pointing fingers at the White House. Like him or not, President Obama is not responsible for the current state of the Union and your quality of life.

It’s the elitists in Congress who you should blame.

How can Congress really understand the importance of raising the minimum wage, hiking social security benefits to keep pace with the cost of living or providing additional veterans benefits when most of them have their pockets stuffed with green?

So, while they have been reported with an air of importance much greater than they deserve, the debates have been nothing more than cheap entertainment rooted in mostly odious dialog and a lot of huffing and puffing.

I mean, seriously, is there anybody among them who you would invite over for Sunday dinner? I didn’t think so. It’s a preposterous bunch that leaves me with an overwhelming sense of fear and loathing, to borrow a phrase that seems ultimately appropriate at this juncture.

But, a shiver runs down my spine when I think of Congress, where the decisions are made.

Yes, the presidency matters, but only in terms of statesmanship and leadership. As we all should know, however, there are bigger fish to fry as far as keeping the nation afloat, and only Congress can handle that job.

So, you can argue all you wish about how many vacation days this president has taken, how he views same-sex marriage, how he feels about gun control. The fact is it doesn’t matter because the real power lies in Congress. If you want to learn whose interests Congress really represents go to followthemoney.org and you’ll get a full, nonpartisan listing of who fuels the House and Senate with infusions of campaign contributions, which, in turn, results in political and economic favoritism that has nothing to do with the needs of you, me or anybody we know.

Still, we get all hot under the collar about Trump or Clinton or Carson or Sanders, to the point of a rising incivility that has rendered us further apart than at any other time in the nation’s history, save for the Civil War.

Yes, it is going to be an important year in U.S. history.

We have to figure some way to help the disappearing middle class, which was once the backbone of the nation.

We have to figure out how to pull people out of poverty and the desperation that accompanies it.

We have to find a way to educate our children without saddling them with outrageous, crippling tuition fees.

We have to find a way to ensure all are covered with a health care plan that really works.

We have to find a way to deal with Russia as it drags us closer to confrontation as a result of the trouble in Syria.

We need to find a way to bring jobs back to the United States instead of shipping them overseas and undermining our employment figures while the fat cats get fatter.

We need to find a way to effectively step away from the Middle East instead of further entangling ourselves in yet another unwinnable war.

Most of all, we have to find ourselves again and repair the damage we have done to ourselves as a people, find the compassion we once offered the world and the hope that once was part of the American fabric.

Yes, it is going to be an important and very busy year.

So buckle up, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

But, we can make it through.

All we have to do is think of “we” instead of “me.”

Ed Kociela is an opinion columnist. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.

Email: edkociela.mx@gmail.com

Twitter: @STGnews, @EdKociela

 

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2015, all rights reserved.

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14 Comments

  • BIG GUY December 29, 2015 at 7:41 am

    Ed, the following statement you make is demonstrably false: “So, you can argue all you wish about how many vacation days this president has taken, how he views same-sex marriage, how he feels about gun control. The fact is it doesn’t matter because the real power lies in Congress.” Obama has abused the powers of office from day 1. The list is much too long for this post but is well known to most readers on this site. I can summarize by pointing out that no president has been slapped down by the Supreme Court for violations of the Supreme Court nearly as many times as has the supposed “constitutional law professor,” by votes of 9-0 in a number of cases.

    Liberals have made the government’s powers vast and overarching. In turn that empowers the president and diminishes Congress’ role since the executive branch is given authority to implement (as it sees fit under Obama) programs and regulations. Your dream of a liberal Congress with a filibuster-proof majority gave us Obamacare, the most disliked piece of major legislation in history. And by the way, it created the Tea Party and gave Republicans overwhelming control of Congress.

    • Rainbow Dash December 29, 2015 at 12:09 pm

      The USA Patriot Act, No Child Left Behind, 3 wars, trillion dollar debt from a surplus, Dept of Homeland Security, Transportation Security Administration, etc. who gave us all of these gov’t programs? Oh that’s right it was George W. Bush and his REPUBLICAN controlled Congress and Senate.

      Has President Obama given us Gov’t programs as too? Absolutely! Democrats are no worse the Republicans in that sense.

      My point is, BIG GUY, before you go railing on “Liberals” for “…making the governments powers vast and overarching” you might want to take a look at the actions of the “Representatives” in your own camp first. Oh that’s right, you’re an “independent”, my mistake.

      • STUPID COMMENTERS December 29, 2015 at 2:53 pm

        BIG GUY has a short memory and zero credibility. in that regard he is a perfect example of a “conservative” republican

      • BIG GUY December 29, 2015 at 5:39 pm

        Who has the short memory? The USA Patriot Act was supported by a vast majority of Democrats in Congress. No Child Left Behind was vigorously supported by Ted Kennedy who was smiling behind George Bush when he signed the bill into law. The Dept. of Homeland Security was supported by a large majority of Democrats in Congress. The dot com bust did result in deficits but Obama’s of the last six years far outstrip them: new programs coupled with economic anti-growth policies.

        New government programs–Obamacare and Dodd Frank being the prime examples–are so complex that Congress could not possibly define how they should be implemented in detail. This is a dramatic change from 30 years ago and more when every bridge and roadway was spelled out in a transportation bill. So Congress “punts” all the details of implementation to the executive branch. Want a specific example: Obama has made over 40 changes to the Obamacare law, ignoring deadlines, changing eligibility, changing fines, etc. Obama proposed a “de facto” amnesty for illegal aliens in violation of the law: the courts have slapped him down. Obama tried to appoint members of the NLRB, claiming Congress was out of session when it specifically was not. The list goes on and on. Our executive branch powers have grown dramatically while Congress’ have diminished.

        If Congress is so powerful, they’d be running roughshod over Obama as we speak. Seen much of that lately?

        Ed is trying to create a stalking horse out of the Republican-controlled Congress for two reasons. One, he wants to blame government failures on Republicans when they have had little chance to influence policy. Two, he dreams of a liberal Congress that will rubber stamp Hilary’s dreams.

        • STUPID COMMENTERS December 29, 2015 at 7:40 pm

          if the R party was actually conservative they’d have my vote, but conservatism is dead in our gov’t. And we know what a republican controlled congress does. We saw it under Bush, and it was an abysmal failure. Radical right-wing policies without a hint of conservatism

        • STUPID COMMENTERS December 29, 2015 at 7:43 pm

          accountable, fair, and honest governing should be the foundation of “conservatism”. The R party does it worse than the libs, fact.

    • STUPID COMMENTERS December 29, 2015 at 12:35 pm

      and the “conservatives” give us never ending middle east wars, wall street bailouts, tax breaks for super-rich elitists, religious fanaticism and systemic cronyism, etc etc., but the am radio tells you that “conservatives” are all angels, so it must be true, right?

      • .... December 29, 2015 at 2:30 pm

        Hey STUPID I knew you would come in and make a STUPID comment on something above your ability to understand. nice try STUPID . hey STUPID you should know when not to speak STUPID. have a nice day STUPID

        • STUPID COMMENTERS December 29, 2015 at 6:03 pm

          ahahahhaha

  • NotSoFast December 29, 2015 at 8:47 am

    Boy are we on the same page Ed. Thanks for the in your face opinion.
    One other issue I have is the political contribution allowances the fat cats are allowed to dangle in front of the bastards. And of course, the free phone in every purse candy.

  • .... December 29, 2015 at 3:21 pm

    Everybody should be given a free phone !

  • ladybugavenger December 29, 2015 at 4:09 pm

    Trump for President!

  • izzymuse December 29, 2015 at 7:32 pm

    Democrats AND Republicans are both corporate dogs. Vote Libertarian!!! Less government + more freedom = solution for the USA

  • .... December 29, 2015 at 10:36 pm

    TRUMP FOR PRESIDENT !

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