Ithaca Blog

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Politician's Work is Never Done, or At Least Not Done Well

The political strife and violence in the Middle East has galvanized George Bush's rapt attention, or at least reached his awareness. The White House announces that he is taking his first trip as president to the region, to see what the heck the hubbub's all about.

He's in office seven years, with one to go.

He spends a lot of time on his bike and treadmill, they say. His heart rate is reportedly 48 beats per minute, which is very low, although one suspects it might actually be much lower, as blood is necessary in the head for brain function.

You or I could never be guilty of waiting seven years on our job to start some of our most important work, because we wouldn't stay hired a fraction of that time.

Actual work is not a big requirement for politicians in our system. The other night in the New Hampshire debates, the candidates were asked to cite something - anything - they accomplished in office. Ex-Senator John Edwards said he helped write a bill for health rights, although as Hillary Clinton noted, the bill didn't pass. Senator Barack Obama said he helped sponsor legislation to forbid politicians from sitting down when they eat meals with lobbyists. No kidding, that's what he said when asked for a political achievement.

Because politicians are indebted to corporate sponsors, their actual job is not to make big things happen, but to keep them from happening. This is why all the talk about change, lately, is actually quite pertinent, although none of these candidates is talking about real change, because it is not in their interest, by any means.

Try to think of something positive (don't even think about monumental) that any current politician has achieved. What have New York's senators done to stop the war in Iraq? They made it possible in the first place, because it was the easiest thing to do, and it would at least make money for people they knew, and they didn't know anyone who would have to fight. What has our current president ever done? What did the previous one ever do? Clinton tried to implement health care, but when that proved difficult, he stopped.

Al Gore became a leader only after he left electoral politics. That shows something fundamental is wrong with the system.

Fundamentally, it's money. Things won't change until we change a system where money and the status quo always come first, and working for the interests of ordinary people comes last.

Stephen Burke
for Ithaca Blog

No comments: