I’ve been reading about all the political shenanigans that are going on – not just in Washington, but throughout the country. Identity politics is not new. Ad hominem attacks on political opponents are as old as politics itself; and, just from my perspective, I’m beginning to think that politics and prostitution may tie as the oldest professions in the world. And then there’s that nagging voice in the back of my mind that equates one with the other. It is strange how our politicians get to Washington and suddenly they’re representatives of the “American people,” instead of the constituency that sent them to the Foggy Bottom swamp. Shouldn’t a representative of the 1st Congressional District of Tennessee (or Michigan, or North Dakota) represent the people who elected him, instead of worrying about the people in the 5th Congressional District of New York or California? And yet, we have national political parties and super political action committees pouring money into congressional districts throughout the country. Perhaps it’s time those of us who are supposed to be represented started telling the representatives how we want to be represented. Maybe we should get to decide how elections are run, since the Constitution gives the right to control elections to the states. How about this for campaign funding reform: each candidate may spend no more than ten dollars times the number of votes cast in the last election cycle for the office for which she/he is running. AND no, repeat, no money may come from outside the district for which the office is being contested. That means no super PAC money, no National Party money, no deep-pockets contributors from outside the district of the election. If the election is to elect a representative for the people of the district, then only they should be involved.
As for lobbyists and declaring gifts and such, how about the simple rule that nothing, repeat, nothing – no coffee, no trips, no tickets to sporting events, no lunches; nothing as in zero – may be accepted by an elected member or civil servant from anyone. Then, there won’t be any misunderstanding.
Perhaps it’s time for the people being represented to decide how the institutions that represent them behave. Lots more ideas where those came from. What do you think?
Now here’s one for you: Did you know British diplomats used to receive tropical zone allowances for living in Washington, D.C.? Well, they did.
See? Even they realized it was a swamp.