Abuse of Democracy Within US Congress

There are 535 members of the United States Congress, members who are responsible for establishing the nation’s laws that should guarantee equal justice for all citizens.  There have always been freeloaders among the membership, experts at double talk, addicts of pretentiousness, and those who did business under the table.  There have been untold episodes of conflicts of interest, endless self-promoting through a feeding trough called “ear marks,” childish tantrums of spite called filibusters, and even outright disregard for the nation’s Constitution.  All of this can be and has been indulged in while taking a healthy salary, government paid medical coverage, generous expense accounts, and even a pension paid to them (through tax collections) after they exit their stint of “service.”

In other words, politics, like religion, attracts people with huge ego problems and are little troubled with any heavy personal scruples.  Perhaps we should not be surprised, therefore, at these facts of Congressional members:

  • Three members have been incarcerated for assault
  • Seven members have been arrested for fraud
  • Eight have been arrested for shoplifting
  • Fourteen have been arrested on drug-related charges
  • Nineteen have been accused of writing bad checks
  • Twenty-one are current defendants in lawsuits 
  • Thirty-six have a record of spousal abuse
  • Seventy-one cannot get a credit card because of bad credit 
  • Eighty-four have been arrested for drunk driving
  • One hundred and seventeen have been involved, either directly or indirectly, in bankrupting at least two businesses
  • There are an uncounted number of adulterer–and clients of brothels
  • And there is an endless parade who continue to pretend they have superior religious guidance

The founding fathers well-knew that human nature is easily tempted.  For this reason they sought to devise safeguards so every citizen of the new nation might have a better chance in the pursuit of happiness and freedom of spirit.  Governing power was not to rest in one person’s hands as in kingdoms.  Therefore three branches of government were to act as the holy trinity of democracy: the executive, the legislative, and the judiciary.  For the most part, that system has well-served a broader spectrum of the people for the bulk of the nation’s history.

As religious factions have pushed more and more into the inner circles of government since 1996, however, emphasis has shifted from loyalty to a golden democracy into a furious pursuit of democratic gold for the power seekers.  In the process neither democracy nor spiritual integrity have been enhanced.  The founders of the US were altruistic, believing that serving in any of the three branches of government was an honor, not a career move.

But for well over that last decade, the thrust of those who have wormed their way into government positions from the Right have vigorously attacked the very roots of democracy.  And the carnival they have made of politics is shown in the fact that they are not interested in real solutions to national problems.  Instead, they keep public attention muddied with petty obsessions such as people’s private lives and women’s right to choose.  When their grab for power has been successful, they have always shafted democratic principles in attempts to do away with such things as worker’s rights, deny seniors the protection they paid into for years, seek to downgrade education standards, give citizens rights to corporations, steal from the  poor and give to the rich, reduce environmental enforcement, use public money for private/religious schools, and do nothing about gun shows where even terrorists can by quantities of guns without a background check!

The point of this mini review is that there is a desperate need for Congressional Reform, and that is summed up in the recently proposed 28th Amendment to the Constitution which covers the following eight considerations:

1)  Term limits of twelve years only should be established, which would include one of three possible options:  A) two six-year Senate terms; B) six two-year House terms; C) one six-year Senate term and three two-year House terms.

2)  There should be neither Tenure nor Pensions for having held the honor of their office.  Every Congressman receives a salary, usually with an expense account; and they continue to get paid for that past honor of Congressional position, which dishonors the concept of true democracy.  So imbalanced is this that a member of Congress may retire with the same pay after only one term!

3)  Equally dishonoring of democratic principles is the special favor granted to themselves which frees Congress persons from participating in Social Security.  Democratic principles require that Congress participate with the America people: That means that properly all funds collected for Congressional retirement payouts should always have been placed in the Social Security system.

4)  If Congress persons want a retirement plan they may, like the rest of American citizens, purchase that security cushion on their own.

5)  Where is there an average American citizen who has the ability to give themselves a pay raise when they feel like it?  Why does Congress have the undemocratic clout to vote themselves a pay raise when they wish?  Rightfully, Congressional pay should rise only by the lower of Consumer Price Index—or by three percent as for everyone else. Representatives of the people do not represent the people when they grant themselves special privileges.

6)  Another case of granting themselves special privilege: Congress enjoys a special health care system, and they have purposely exempted themselves from the Healthcare Reform.  Properly they should participate in the same health care system as all other American citizens whom they claim to represent.  Maybe then they would cease using citizen healthcare for a political football.

7)  The legislative branch of government determines the laws of the land:  That does not mean that they are above the law.  Congress persons must comply equally by all the laws that Congress imposes upon the American people.  (For example, did you know that Congressional members are exempted from being prosecuted for sexual harassment?)

8)  All these things considered, the right thing to do for true democratic governing is to void all past and present contracts that Congressmen implemented for Congressmen, and this should be made effective October 01, 2011.  Their self-serving contracts serve only them, and are not for the betterment of the nation.

It is crucial that American citizens stand up and confront their elected officials about the undemocratic privileges they indulge in which are in direct opposition to the laws they have imposed upon the citizenry.

4 Responses to “Abuse of Democracy Within US Congress”

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