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Take back America.
That’s the mantra for so-called “grassroots” groups for this year’s elections.
But when voters walk into the polling booth on Nov. 2 do they really have a choice that returns control of government to the people — assuming, of course, that we ever had control — or is the choice simply replacing one version of the status quo with another?
Even if every Tea Party candidate on the ballot won a seat in Congress — which won’t happen — or Republicans gain control of Congress, those newly-minted Congresspeople will answer to the same brand of GOP leadership that ran Congress after the 1994 elections.
When you look back at all the promises that Newt Gingrich and his followers made to the American public in that purported “turning point” mid-term election you find the usual trail of broken pledges, shattered hope and business as usual.
Gingrich’s “Contract With America” promised many things but failed to deliver.
The promise to impose term limits was the first to fall by the wayside. Once Republicans gained control they deemed term limits an obtainable dream, which is political-speak for “we got the power now baby and we ain’t giving it up.”
Newt and the boys promised an end to “Christmas tree” bills packed with non-germane items and pork for the folks back home but the GOP-led Congresses set new records with lard-laden legislation.
Now GOP leader John Boehner — a Gingrich protege — has repackaged the Contract with new promises. The Tea Party has its own “Contract From America.” In reality, both are just more of the same and the results — if Republicans win control — will be no different than their last round.
So voters are faced with two choices: Democrats — whose list of real accomplishments might fill the inside cover of a matchbook — or Republicans — whose record matches that of the hapless Washington Redskins over the last few years.
For all of its hyple, the Tea Party is neither populist or grassroots. It’s the creation of political consultants and Washington lobbyists and its goal is to mask the GOP agenda as a voter-driven movement.
This doesn’t leave the voter any real options. The midterm elections won’t be a game changer. It won’t change the direction of America. If every incumbent on the ballot loses — which won’t happen — too many of them will be replaced by former members of Congress or repackaged professional politicians who will snap to attention of party leadership and join the swamp of Congress.
Still, we have to vote. Not voting only makes the situation worse. We have to try and make a reasoned decision based on available choices and hope like hell that we did the right thing.
Then, once this election debacle is over, we have to look for ways to change the system that controls this country and start working towards a real, workable way to fix a broken system of governance.
The answer on how to do this is out there somewhere, waiting to be found.
We’re just not looking in the right places.