August 2011
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Sailing on the ship of fools

By Galen Larson

Sixteen months till the next election. I’m already receiving letters and brochures from incumbent candidates and new persons who would like my time and money to help them get on the elite welfare rolls. One even suggests I’m a “like-minded” person.

I have never met this man or even heard of him, but because I belong to an organization he may have just joined, I have apparently become like the Good Book says, a sheep. But mobs are dangerous and destructive. I prefer to agree to disagree.

That being said, one might think I’m an independent. Independents are a group who beat their chests, stand alone, pull themselves up by the bootstraps. They are proud to say they elect candidates, and they do.

But they do not pick the candidates. That is done by the two parties that control elections. The independents, unless they change their affiliation temporarily, are not allowed in the assemblies of either party or in the primaries where candidates are chosen.

I personally think the independents should have as much say in who they can vote for as anyone in either party. It affects them as much as anyone else.

Both major parties have picked some winners and losers; the problem is they both got elected. Now enters a new player: the Tea Party. They make sure God is stated loudly in the pledge. They wave the flag and display it on their clothing and even (and this irritates this veteran) make clothes out of the flag. They display Communist- made ribbons on their vehicles crying, “Support the troops.” They proudly proclaim their patriotism and love of country – yet refuse to pay taxes to support it.

Here come the Republicans, not realizing their party has been taken over by the banks, the nouveau riche, the corporations. They are no longer the people’s party, no matter what Boehner, McConnell or Cantor say. The leaders of the Republican Party are bought and paid for. They have become the slaves of the corporations. To sell one’s soul for mammon doesn’t say much for one’s integrity.

And here come the Democrats with their own problems. Yes, they left a surplus in the bank, but they sell out, too. They’re supposed to stand up for the little guy, but too often they misplace their spines the minute they hit Washington, D.C.

When we do get a person elected to city, county, state or federal government, we go about our business and let them run amok. We attend no meetings, write no letters, make no phone calls. But we sure as hell can complain over the high price of coffee. How we can be so afraid of government when we are the government boggles my mind.

Persons steered by popular applause, though they bear the title of leaders, are in reality the mere underlings of the multitude, and let’s not forget it. We the people are and should be the government.

This is a very high responsibility. To vote the tie and the lie is to shirk our duty. We owe our elected officials nothing. We pay them good salaries, give them vacations and health benefits, pay for them to travel around the world and provide them retirement. For that we should get exemplary results. Yet they work to help mainly the few on top, not the masses.

Oh, we can’t tax the corporations! Not to worry – they take very good care of themselves. Here are some facts that might make you wince. There are 27,000 corporate officers allegedly housed in a five-story building in a tax-exempt country. There is a two-bedroom house in Cheyenne, Wyo., that is occupied by two ladies who rent space to 2,200 corporations. That bedroom must get a little crowded while we get shafted! There is also a small and nondescript house in Nevada that has corporate guests who pay no taxes.

Who allows this? Our elected officials. We need campaign finance reform, not a charade like the McCain-Feingold measure, but real reform. No more corporate funding or mysterious commercials from the likes of Karl Rove. We the people should and can fund the campaigns.

We own the airwaves, which are sold at a pittance to the broadcasting companies. They should give equal air time to each candidate, state and federal. The candidate that sends you the letter and brotherly story doesn’t have to be purchased by big money.

Will this happen? Hell, no, but as the song goes, I can dream, can’t I? Until that happens we will continue to sail on the ship of fools an the sea of corruption. Don’t forget to vote!

Galen Larson writes from Montezuma County, Colo.


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