These Foliticians Are America’s Problem

oil spillIf you look at the problems plaguing this nation today, from economic collapse to environmental catastrophe, it is safe to say that some politicians had some hand in the mess.  Corruption in politics did not just become an issue.  Obviously, this is a centuries-old crisis in the making.  But the consequences of misguided policies and sub par politicians are so dire today—and the direct link between bad people and bad outcomes is so clear—that we must take notice.

After all, the disaster of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans was a failure of political leadership as much as it was a failure of the levees.  The current BP oil deluge which has turned the Gulf of Mexico into chocolate milk has eclipsed the Exxon Valdez oil disaster of 1989.  To be sure, the BP accident is an environmental threat that speaks to the deadly serious pitfalls of off-shore drilling.  But it is also a crisis of bad political intentions, from the right-wing lobbyists such as FreedomWorks that worked with BP to push for more oil drilling, to the corporate lackeys at the 2008 GOP convention who shouted “drill baby dril.”  Let’s not forget former Vice President Dick Cheney, who championed deregulation of the oil industry with his energy task force, and whose companyHalliburton figures prominently in the oil rig disaster.

Similarly, the Great Recession and the destruction of America’s middle and working class is as much the creation of deregulation-loving, Wall Street-enabling bipartisanship as anything else.  Political greed almost killed healthcare reform.  And for what it’s worth, although reform was historic, individual politicians’ quest for self-aggrandizement watered down the reform package, with the public option as a casualty.

This is not to say that all politicians are rotten.  To the contrary, many are dedicated and committed to their constituents, and have a long, proud record of accomplishments.  These are the honest public servants who were grown by the community, and who answer to the needs and concerns of the people.  Perhaps they were propelled into office because of some issue or cause to which they were personally devoted, or a personal tragedy that changed their life.  Nevertheless, these politicians take their job seriously, and might even take principled stands, sometimes to the detriment of their political career.

But these days, I can’t help but think of the lyrics to the old UB40 song“Folitician”:

You come chatty chatty chatty run up you’ mouth; (repeat)
One man, one vote you hear from the shout. (repeat)
You full of pure promise but you tell damn’ lies; (repeat)
You make a mistake And then somebody dies. (repeat)
Hey folitician, me seh hey folitician
Me seh hey folitician
What you doin ’bout the slums?
You sit around all day, jus’ a twiddle your thumbs;
You have a strange expression
Mek you look like you’ dumb. (repeat)
You worry everybody ’til you put them in a box. (repeat)

Who is the folitician which the song decries?  I think of a poor shlub, maybe someone who is selling hot dogs on Market Street, or your thoroughfare of choice.  Perhaps he or she is clueless on political matters.  Perhaps this person isn’t too bright, maybe even dumb as bricks or semi-illiterate.  In any case, this individual is malleable, a marionette looking for a puppet master.  Some powerful interests may identify this shlub as someone they can use as their front man (or front woman, because pimping is an equal opportunity game).

Or, perhaps the folitician comes to Washington, or Albany, or Sacramento, or some other city of choice, with good intentions and great ideas.  But the lobbyist money is just too good to pass up—it flows just like water, or oil for that matter.  This supplemental income becomes their crack, if you will.  Foliticians depend on the money to help support the lifestyle to which they have become accustomed.  They blatantly flaunt their greedy inclinations in front of their constituents, casting their lot (and their votes) with those who paid them off, rather than who voted them into office.  The voters are too clueless to notice, the foliticans think, and far too often they are correct.

Alternatively, the folitician might come to the scene, fully formed, as a slick, savvy, wholly-owned subsidiary of the corporation whose water (s)he was paid to carry.

david.jpgNow more than ever, the public is beginning to understand that we, our economy, our health and our environment are paying a helluva price for pathetically corrupt political misleadership.  America’s political system has a quality control issue.  The product is flawed because the raw materials are flawed.  If we allow them, this dysfunction will become our undoing.  Blame the wholly-owned foliticans as we will for our current situation, and we should, we must assume responsibility as well.  After all, they were not elected by themselves, and democracy wasn’t meant to be a spectator sport.

David A. Love

This article first appeared in The Black Commentator and is republished with permission.

Comments

  1. Marshall says

    We need to learn how to deal with oil spills, both ours and others. China will be drilling near our coast for our good friend Cuba. Mexico did not spend any effort to correct/clean up their oil spill that trashed Texas so I would guess the two Cs will not either.

  2. jacksmith says

    Alan Grayson Honors The Dead http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TV9TRoYMtjs&feature=player_embedded

    I want to commend all of you for working so hard and being so strong at helping the whitehouse and congress begin to address our U.S. and Global healthcare crisis. You have been AWESOME! my fellow Americans and peoples of the World. America and the World is better and safer for it. My greatest pride is the knowledge that I am one of you. And that you really get it. You really understand the importance of it all.

    There are some potentially very good things in the healthcare legislation. Especially with the reconciliation fix’s. The Democrats, Bernie Sanders and the Whitehouse did a GREAT! job of fighting to produce the best healthcare legislation that they could. They have earned all our strong support. And we should give it to them.

    But it was your relentless pressure and hard work that made the difference. Whatever good comes from this healthcare legislation, America and the peoples of the World will have each of you to thank. You were smart, creative, courageous and relentless. You fought together for the best legislation possible. And when you had to, you fought alone. No matter who stumbled and fell you continued to push and forge ahead. Fighting for the lives and health of the American people and the World. YOU SHOULD BE PROUD OF YOUR-SELVES :-)

    It may come to pass that future generations will look back on us and say that we were ALL Americas Greatest Generations. And that healthcare reform was our finest hour. You should be proud of our leaders President Obama, Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader Reid and the many other Democratic and independent fighters for the people in congress. They proved them-self worthy of the leadership of a GREAT! PEOPLE.

    But we are not done yet. This was just the beginning of healthcare reform, not the end. WE THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES, ARE NOT! divided on healthcare legislation. The vast majority of you have been consistently crystal clear that this legislation does not go far enough. You want a strong Government-run Public Option CHOICE!! available to everyone on day one. And you want it NOW!

    YOU MUST NOT ALLOW AN INDIVIDUAL MANDATE TO STAND WITHOUT A STRONG GOVERNMENT-RUN PUBLIC OPTION CHOICE! AVAILABLE TO EVERYONE.

    WE THE PEOPLE have been crystal clear that we want an end to dependence on for-profit healthcare and the for-profit proxies called private for non-profit healthcare. The American people want the CHOICE! of a strong Government-run Public Option to replace their need or dependence on healthcare providers whose primary motivation is profit. Rather than providing the highest quality, easiest accessible and most affordable medically necessary healthcare possible. This is what the rest of the developed World has. And the American people want it too. They want healthcare ASSURANCE! Not, for-profit health insurance. And they want it NOW!

    Now is the time to continue the push for a strong Government-run Public Option CHOICE! available to everyone that wants it on day one. Rationally it’s clear what we have to do to get this done. SUPPORT THE DEMOCRATS that supported you with a Public Option choice, and REMOVE as many republicans as you can. Not one republican in congress was willing to step across the isle to support a strong Government-run Public Option CHOICE!! available to everyone on day one. NOT ONE! Let no candidate prevail this November that does not support a Strong Government-run Public Option.

    47,000 AMERICANS die each year from lack of healthcare. 120,000 die from treatable illness that don’t die in other developed countries. Hundreds of thousands of you are dieing from medical accidents in a rush to profit. And Millions of your are injured. Millions more are driven into bankruptcy. All for the privilege of paying two to three times as much as any other people in the developed world for healthcare. HOGWASH!

    Additionally, tens of thousands of you and your children were killed and millions sickened and injured from a terror attack with H1N1 (swine flu). Released on the American people and the World by the for-profit healthcare industry. All in an attempt to panic and frighten you into accepting the oxymoronic criminal enterprise of private for-profit healthcare (The most costly, deadly, dangerous, and disgraceful product sold in America). H1N1 is still sickening people and killing them. Especially children, the young and the middle aged. And there will be a third wave. These are the terrorist you need to worry about the most. Even the so-called international terrorist would not do something so INSANE! But greed driven medical profiteers would and did.

    Apparently as far as republicans in GOVERNMENT are concerned, YOU! my fellow Americans – CAN JUST DROP DEAD! Including their own family members. Fools!… Hundreds of thousands of you, and possibly millions of you will die from the long-term effects of your infection and poisoning with H1N1.

    So my fellow Human Beings. Rest-up, Take good care of the basics (Balanced nutrition, hydration, exercise, rest and POSITIVE emotional supports). Then wade back into the FIGHT! for a strong Government-run Public Option CHOICE! available to everyone on day one. Drug re-importation, Abolishment or strong restrictions on patents for biologic and prescription drugs. And government controlled and negotiated drug and medical cost. You must take back control of your healthcare system from the Medical Industrial Complex. you MUST do it NOW! This is a matter of National and Global security. There can be NO MORE EXCUSES.

    God Bless You My Fellow Human Beings. I’m glad to know of you. And proud to be one of you.

    See you on the battle field.

    Sincerely

    jacksmith – WorkingClass :-)

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