Powerless

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For much of the past decade, I have defended Nancy Pelosi, our current speaker of the house. She’s clearly replaced Hillary Clinton as the Republicans’ woman to demonize, and they’ve done a pretty good job of slamming her for everything from her face to her voice to her motives to her background. I always felt, were Pelosi a man, it would never have been this way. Ever.

That said, I am done defending. Thanks to CNN’s excellent Jack Cafferty, I learned today about Pelosi’s pre-Christmas trip to Copenhagen for the Climate Summit. Did Pelosi need to go? Probably not, what with President Obama representing the United States. But, in and of itself, I have no problem with her decision to attend.

However, Nancy Pelosi didn’t merely fly coach, stay in a Holiday Inn and return home. No, she traveled along with her delegation of FIFTY-NINE people, including members of Congress, staffers and spouses and children. As Cafferty wrote, “For the 21 Congressmen, food and rooms for two nights cost $4,400; and the total hotel bill—including meeting rooms—was more than $400,000.” Oh, Pelosi also used two military jets for herself and her party at a cost of more than $100,000 in flight time.

Ugh.

I am no longer shocked by the actions of our political leaders; by their arrogance and their sense of entitlement. But I remain incredibly pissed off by it. Nancy Pelosi is a Democrat. I am a Democrat. We are supposed to be concerned about the poor; the needy; the struggling … the … the … the … she spent more than $100,000 in flight time!? And used military jets!? Seriously, what the hell is going on here? What are these people thinking? We’re at 10 percent reported unemployment. In certain cities, that total reached 25 percent. And Nancy Pelosi does … this? I am beyond sickened.

And here’s thing thing—this is not a Democratic issue. It’s not a Republican issue. It’s not red vs. blue, elephant vs. donkey. It’s Us against Them—The People who make up 99.9999999999999 percent of the country vs. the .000000000000001 percent who “serve” in the government as elected officials. We (myself certainly included) spend so much time bashing other ideologies that we forget the true enemy is often leadership itself. Not exclusively Republican leadership or Democratic leadership—but the powers that be, party affiliation be damned.

I have long detested the so-called Tea Party people and the ring-wing nut-jobs who picket outside abortion clinics with their dead fetus signs. I loathe those who say Obama isn’t a citizen, and I will never agree with people who think social programs should be funded exclusively via private funds. But, for the first time, I am starting to understand their universal frustrations.

We are all citizens, all underrepresented by the people we elected to represent us. We are largely voiceless, largely powerless. We don’t agree on much, but we can agree on that.

And it sucks.

PS: And, just to kick me in the head, today the Democrats decided health care reform isn’t actually all that important after all. Ha ha, hee hee.

8 thoughts on “Powerless”

  1. Nice post, Jeff.

    Republican. Democrat. Libertarian. Whatever. George Carlin said it best. “Sooner or later the people in this country are going to realize the government doesn’t give a f*** about them. The government doesn’t care about you, or your children, or your rights, or your welfare or your safety. It simply doesn’t give a f*** about you. It’s interested in its own power. That’s the only thing…keeping it, and expanding wherever possible.”

  2. I agree with you that the real kick in the head is that unless we can do something in the next year to reverse the supreme court ruling that any curb on corporate spending is unconstitutional, Pelosi and co. are the best we’ll ever do. In a few years we’ll be wishing we had them back. The class struggle is sharpening, and I don’t mean to sound like an alarmist, but I’m afraid we’re about to reach a breaking point.

  3. Welcome to Total Bastard Airways. Enjoy your flight.

    Reid looks likely to be turned out this year, and GOP could conceivably take the House. I’m disgusted with both Reid and Pelosi for their failures in office in the past year. But I’ll sure miss them when Michelle Bachmann is speaker and Inhofe leads the Senate.

    People alarmed by that vision should probably consider the extreme act of getting out to vote in an off-year election.

  4. Jeff,

    Pelosi and her crew could travel every day of their congressional terms at that level, and it wouldn’t even touch the amount of money the US spends on defense spending. We pretty much spend as much annually as the rest of the world combined, and it’s not going to change even if the President were to be named Abbie Hoffman. We can rip Barack Obama, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and Rahm Emanuel all we want, but those people are beholden to the military industrial complex in ways we can’t even comprehend. Like it or not, the legislative branch in the US holds most of the power, and they’re bought and paid for by the defense industry; wonder why Joe Lieberman is such a liberal on social issues but an extreme hawk on defense? Research how vast the military-industrial complex’s foothold is in Connecticut, and you’ll wonder no more.

    As someone who watched his superiors in Air Defense move from Fort Bliss over to Raytheon with ease when their 20 years was up, I realized how the gravy train between private industry and the government really keeps rolling; there’s way too much money to be made by all parties involved to ever allow a substantive change to occur. Until the country topples over on its defense-spending bloat, we’ll continue to dole out our vast wealth on the business of ‘peace’ and ‘defense’. Overpriced hotel rooms aren’t even a mote in God’s eye in this equation.

  5. It is highly disconserting to see the “stupid” things our Democratic leaders have done in President Obama’s first year in office. And now our President is saying “Spending Freeze”… in this Depression / Recession. It looks like the Wrong Move and it looks like he is running scared. Pelosi’s trip to … a perfect example of arrogance and “accustomedness” to the perks of power! I wish we could throw all of them in Congress out who have been there more than 2 terms! This new Supreme Court ruling pretty much says to us the populous…Corporate America Rules! This with the continued Electoral College…burys us the people. One day we may all be in the streets with clubs and hammers…not just Democrats..but like you said Jeff…Democrats and Republicans….Left Wingers and Right Wingers….the 95% of the Country with 5% of the wealth.

  6. all 4 above comments are spot on. the govt doesn’t care about the people. only themselves/their backers/their lobbyists/thier power/their $$$- it’s a disgrace. on all fronts. by both parties. on every level of govt. oh america, hold on tight ‘cuz we’re in for it!

  7. Jeff, this is the first time I’ve ever agreed with you on a political post. More than likely, it’ll be the last. Glad to hear it being said though. Well done.

  8. I did laugh last night when Obama said it’s time to curb government spending and the first person to stand up and cheer was Pelosi.

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