Congress gave the nation a Christmas present Thursday, adjourning for the year and getting the hell out of Dodge with most of its business unfinished.
President George W. Bush did the same, hightailing it to Crawford for yet another vacation.
Yes, the nation and world are much safer places when these clowns leave town. For a few weeks, we can breathe easier, content in knowing that members of Congress are off junketing at some lobbyist’s expense and our phony cowboy President is in Texas pretending, once again, to be something that he is not.
Which leaves the rest of us to wonder just how in the hell we got into this mess?
How, for example, did the world’s oldest surviving Republic end up with a government so scandal-ridden, so ineffective and so reviled by both its own citizens and the rest of mankind?
How did this nation re-elect a President who lies to justify an illegal invasion of another country, ignores the Constitution that is supposed to provide the foundation for our freedoms, orders spying on Americans by our own government and sends thousands of American soldiers as well as countless numbers of innocent civilians of other countries to their deaths?
How did we end up with a Congress so corrupt that lobbyists roam the halls like predators, buying favor and access with big campaign donations, securing votes with lavish vacations and perks and subverting the sadly outmoded idea that our elected representatives are supposed to serve the will of the people?
How we got into this mess is easy to explain. We, as Americans, sat on our collective asses and let it happen. As long as we had two cars in the garage, a Tivo recording shows for our high-definition plasma TVs and junior occupied by a Gameboy, we didn’t really give a damn what was happening in Washington. We might bitch and moan about the cost of filling the tank on our SUVs but, hey, life is good and who cares what those morons are Washington are doing as long as it doesn’t affect us?
Well it was affecting us then and it is affecting us more than ever now. While we sat on our couches and watched reality shows until our brains fried, our government – the one that is supposed to be “of the people and for the people” – turned into an all-powerful monster that snoops into our private lives, lives large at our expense and drives this nation into bankruptcy with mounting deficits and out-of-control spending.
When it came time to speak as voters, too many of us stayed home, allowing a minority of those who actually voted to decide who runs the country and our lives. Those who did vote did so mostly to support the status quo and it is that status quo that is destroying a once-great nation called America.
Yes, our nation and the government that controls it are out of control. It got there because, in the end, the final check and balance is us – the people who vote these clowns in and out of office. Had we been paying attention and doing our jobs, we might not be in the mess we have right now.
As a journalist, I can rant and rave about the injustices and scandals and misuse of power until the cows come home but, in the end, that’s all I can do. I can shine the light of truth on these miscreants but the truth cannot set anyone free unless they seek the freedom.
In the end, the voters hire these morons and only the voters can fire them. Given the poor turnout of past elections, it is also the voters who chose not to vote who share most of the blame. If we don’t do our jobs, then we have no one but ourselves to blame if the turkeys that make it into office don’t do theirs.
Because of our action, or inaction, we are saddled with a government that can’t get the job done.
So it’s time for us to do our jobs and find someone who can.