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The illusion of choice
Posted By Patrice Lewis On 10/26/2012 @ 7:34 pm In Commentary,Opinion | No Comments
I hate politics. I really do.
I hate politics because I see what our elected officials are doing to America. No matter what wonderful things are promised prior to an election, I know the reality is the government will continue to further erode our constitutional freedoms, involve us in wars we can never win and trash our economy.
I didn’t bother watching any of the presidential or vice-presidential debates because I knew exactly what the script would be: one candidate would try to convince listeners he wears a halo while his opponent holds a pitchfork, and vice versa. It’s always the same. Always.
That’s because politicians don’t live in the real world. They live in a surreal bubble around Washington, D.C., that bears no resemblance to the vast stretches of America where real people must scratch out a living as best they can in the economic climate created by the politicians.
My column is entitled Real America because that’s who we are. My family and I are not Beltway insiders who are unfamiliar with everyday conditions in the heartland of this nation. We’re just ordinary people like millions of others, doing whatever it takes get by. We’re not “occupying” anything, we’re not taking handouts, we’re not sucking on the government teat. Instead, we’re among the taxpaying half of America tottering under the weight of the other half (including, I might add, our entire political body) who take instead of give.
And while politicians promise lofty beneficent-sounding policies from their ivory towers, it’s the little people (the peasants?) who must deal with the day-to-day realities of what those policies entail. We’re the ones getting our income “redistributed.” We’re the ones sending our sons and daughters to fight unwinnable wars. We’re the ones seeing food and energy prices increase because money is decreasing in value.
I know it may come as a shock to many politicians, but a lot of people in Real America aren’t concerned with the debates, or candidate promises, or anything else. We know from long and weary experience that the impact comes from what politicians DO, rather than what they SAY. In this harsh and unforgiving economic climate, two men flapping their gums on national television just doesn’t mean much. While the big boys manipulate the global economy, it’s Joe and Mary Smallfry who are dealing with the realities on the ground-floor level, a level most politicians never see and have no interest in seeing.
Real Americans are worried about the economy, but I don’t just mean on a national level. Their worries are personal. They’re worried about the security of their jobs, how to pay their bills, buy groceries, pay for gas, make the mortgage, educate their children and a host of other concerns that don’t affect the royalty … er, the politicians. With an unemployment rate of 23 percent (according to ShadowStats, which I trust a whole lot more than the [cough] “official” unemployment rate put out by the government), that’s a lot of people in this country affected by shaky and insecure finances.
The feeling here in the heartland is frustration that the candidates just don’t know what it’s like to live hand-to-mouth. Joe and Mary Smallfry are the ones who must deal with the reality of whatever foolish policies our politicians force down our throats. If the government chooses to manipulate markets and clash with international forces, if gas prices spike, if food prices go through the roof, if nationalized health care cause our costs to skyrocket, who do you think will suffer more? The royalty or the peasants?
And the frustrating thing is, there is nothing Joe and Mary Smallfry can do about it. None of us can do anything about it. Most of us are blown like sparrows before a massive storm, clinging to whatever mooring we can, desperately trying not to be overcome by forces far beyond our control.
When you think about it, all a politician can do is promise a government solution to whatever problem we face. No matter what side of the coin you’re looking at, the answer will be “more government,” not less. Very few politicians are brave enough (or survive long enough) to suggest slashing government back to its constitutional levels. Too many people have been seduced over to the dark side of the force and are dependent on the State, either for assistance or for employment.
That’s because government solutions are darkly seductive. If someone is unemployed, they can bypass the tedious process of looking for work or creating a job, and simply sign up for food stamps and other benefits. In fact, Washington is doing its best to convince people to take food stamps whether they want them or not. Or if someone can’t find a job in the private sector because it has been strangled by excessive regulations and taxes, they can always find a government job. The private sector isn’t hiring; the government is. What does that tell you?
The more people who can be seduced to the dark side of government assistance (welfare or employment), the more future votes are assured. It doesn’t matter who wins the election; this trend will continue.
But it’s not just government assistance that’s at issue, it’s the horrific fiscal cliff of unsustainable debt we’re approaching. Regardless of whether the Democrats or the Republicans triumph, that debt cliff is unavoidable. It’s too late to reverse course. The best we can do is put on the brakes and hope the inevitable crash happens a little later rather than sooner.
Please spare me the rhetoric that a Romney win means America will get back on course. I don’t believe it. The course is already set. It was set long before Obama took office, though Obama certainly increased our speed. No matter how much we “clean house” during this upcoming election, politicians will still propose government solutions to government-caused problems and further increase our debt. The question becomes who will do less damage over the next four years, not who is the best man for the job. For some reason people think it will make a difference if we drown in deep water or in shallow water. We still drown.
I will vote for Romney, not because I like Romney but because I like Obama less. But even if Romney wins, I’m under no illusion that he can solve our nation’s problems. I can only hope the collapse will be slower (allowing more people to brace themselves) rather than faster.
We have no other choice.
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