What do we call this? The 'not quite October Surprise'? That moment of almost mythical proporations when one political party drops an atomic bomb on its competitor one month before the election. On September 29th, Mark Foley, Republican Member of Congress, did just that. He dropped an 'October Surprise' on his own party when he resigned in the light of allegations that he sent 'inappropriate' (sexually explicit) Instant Messages to a House Page (multiple pages as it turns out). Since then, the Republican party has exploded in a storm of finger-pointing and innuedno.
I'm not suprised by any of this. I have watched, in the last decade, as all three branches of of the U.S. Government have gradually been elected and appointed (CONSUMED) by one political party - one party Republican rule - so the checks and balances envisioned by our founding fathers are now nil' to non-existent. To keep everyone honest in government and to protect our country we need to restore those checks and balances that are so sorely lacking today (I'm a Democrat and I don't want my party controlling everyhing either; checks and balances are critical to vitality of a democracy).
Not suprisingly, for those who rule in our House, Senate and White House today - hubris seems to be a state of mind. According to the Oxford American Dictionary, hubris (in Greek Tragedy) is arrogant pride towards the Gods, leading to nemesis, or downfall. Personally, I believe whatever goes around comes around. Call it 'Karmic payback' . . . with that in mind the Republican woes are no suprise. Hubris defines them.
You've heard the names of those Republicans charged and or convicted: Jack Abramhoff, Tom Delay, Bob Ney, Randy 'Duke' Cunningham' to name a few embroiled in the recent scandals. Worse than the scandals, consider the mess we're in in Iraq. I know the military doesn't want to label the situtation 'all out Civil War' but in every report I hear on the news, it sure sounds like the people of Iraq 'think and feel like they're living in the midst of Civil War'! George W. Bush's war!!
My point here is not to re-hash what we're hearing in the news day after day. But I do want to stress one thing: Americans need to wake up. We elect these people to the U.S. House, the U.S. Senate and the White House. They in turn determine who is appointed to the Supreme Court. Those elected officials are a 'mirror of us', of our society. To say or think that we cannot change what is happening in Washington is a cop out!! We can and do have an impact when we are in informed society and when each one of us does our part. Get involved!
As part of this country, each and every one of us, needs to become better read, better educated, more involved in regard to what our government is doing. I'm not trying to lecture and forgive me if it sounds like I am, but to do anything less means that we become fat, happy sheep who are easily lead - the lies and the truth become one and the same. How can you tell the difference if you are not educated in the facts?
To take this notion one step further - as easily led sheep, surely we won't mind or question if our constitutional rights are gradually erased in the interest of national security against terrorists for instance?? Kind of like shifting sand under pouding waves, in the interest of national security. Hmmm...doesn't sound good for the Constitution.
When hubris overtakes those men and women that we send to Washington - it's not shocking to hear things like: it might be necessary eliminate the House Page Program - in the light of former Congressman Foley's innappropriate actions. That was House Speaker, Dennis Hastert's solution to the growing controversy.
My suggestion is that we get rid of Members of Congress who display inappropriate behavior toward the children who are entrusted to the House Page program. Their safety is entrused to staff and elected Members who serve in the House. Those kids are in Wasington to learn how government works - unfortunately some are learning a lot more . . . they're learning about the seedier sides of life with elected officials who should be 'role models', but instead are models of illicit behavior. Based on what I hear from friends outside Washington - people around the country are more concerned about the 'saftey of the kids' than they are preserving the longevity of Members of Congress who have 'let us down' or worse!
I hope as this sad, sad saga unfolds we keep two things in mind: 1) The Pages who were sent here as part of an educational program are young people who should be protected and nurtured - eliminating their program is a disservice to them and speaks volumes about whether or not we can 'trust' our Members of Congress; 2) Do the people we elect to Congress truly represent the people of their districts and their interests.
Throughout my career in politics I've been fortunate - I've consistenly worked with Members of Congress who have and are fulfilling their duties with conviction and honor. I believe they're the majority not the minority. With that in mind, the one thing I personally hold dear: 'you dance with the people who brung ya'. I've always said when I forget the reason I'm here, I'll go home, back to the Midwest. Maybe we need a refresher course in DC these days for some of these folks. The reason we're all here, after all, is not to line our pockets with gold or for self preservation in politics - it's the people who 'brung ya.'