February 01, 2006

Don't Be Fooled. See The Forest Not The Tree.

You're reading a lot about a corruption scandal in Washington. Some people are trying to tell you that "everybody does it" and that both parties are involved and that whenever you try to take the money out of politics it finds another way in. These are smokescreens designed to make you think this is not as bad as it sounds. These are smokescreens designed to make you think there is nothing you can do about things like that, that you have no power, and that you should just let the politicians take care of these things for you.

Don't be fooled. See the forest, not the trees. This corruption scandal is about people breaking existing laws. This is about Republican Congressmen and White House officials indicted for illegally taking bribes. They took payments in exchange for abusing their power, providing favors to cronies, and for using their power to block investigations and oversight.

Just like with New Orleans and FEMA, this is just one more example of Republicans in Congress not doing their job. This is what always happens when so-called "conservatives" gain power, because Republicans do not believe that people can work together and help each other so they do not believe in government and law. Instead they believe in a dog-eat-dog, everyone on-their-own and out-for-themselves society where the strongest survive and it doesn't matter what happens to everyone else. So whenever conservatives gain power they abuse it and use it to get money for themselves and their friends. Just look at what has happened to pensions, health insurance and wages since the conservatives took office -- everything is going the wrong way. The rich are getting vastly richer and the corporations don't have to follow any rules, while the rest of us are getting squeezed harder and harder.

Government can work, laws can work and society can work for all of us, but only when everybody plays by the rules, and the system's checks and balances are enforced. Government is supposed to be about "us" working together for the betterment of everybody - don't ever let Republicans tell you that government is a "them."

Progressives believe that the ideals of community and democracy CAN work -- that people CAN work together to help each other out -- that businesses CAN make money while following the rules, serving their customers and bettering the community as a whole.

By Dave Johnson

No matter who Republicans elect, it's easy to show they're supporting more of the same part of the same pay-to-play system that's made Washington the mess that it is right now.

Testimony of Common Cause President Chellie Pingree before the House Committee on Government Reform
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Cleaning Up Washington with an Independent Ethics Commission.

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Ethics of the New Testament…