LIKE A DOOMED STAR READY TO IMPLODE!
The basic political system in the United States was created in a time when the overall population of the country was tiny, the number of eligible voters was smaller still, and there were far fewer power groups with their own agendas. If people really didn’t like what was going on in their districts they could simply load up and move west where at first there were no political processes at all. As time passed and the populations grew money began to play an increasing role in the political system.
By the beginning of the 20th century the new money morality had infected and corrupted American culture and the political process from top to bottom. As is so glaringly obvious today people who want to participate in the governing process must buy their way into office.
Individuals running for offices who are not wealthy must raise thousands to millions of dollars to finance their campaigns. One of the most conspicuous examples of this occurred in 2010. That year the candidate for the governorship of California, Meg Whitman, former CEO of eBay, spent $141 million of her own money and another $25 million in donations—apparently the record for any political candidate in the history of the country; topping 2008 presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who spent $115 million during the primary elections campaign that year (and lost). Whitman also lost.
That was an incredible travesty of the original political system, and a glaring example of the depths to which American culture had sunk.
By the summer of 2010 the level of political competition for power had reached new heights of immoral absurdity—a phenomenon advanced by an advertising “genius” whose forte was creating advertisements based on statements and images that were so shocking they were raw red meat for the online news media, resulting in them going viral in a matter of minutes, bringing his clients millions of dollars worth of publicity and making them virtually instant “celebrities.”
This genius simply took advantage of the fact that the more outrageous an ad the more attention it will get, regardless of how inaccurate or how stupid it might be—the point being that enough of the public would end up voting for the candidates to maybe get them elected. What this had to stay about the moral character of the political figures who agreed to this approach is a good question.
The American political system is not going to reform itself. First, in most states the division of counties into political districts—which is the prerogative of state legislators—is obsolete, impractical, inefficient, unfair, undemocratic and irrational, and the system should be abolished.
Failure of the Committee System
The political-party system of government as practiced in the United States is virtually bankrupt. One of its worst elements is the committee system, which has a profound influence on who gets what done. In addition to different ideologies that divide committee members on both state and federal levels the party in power gets to select the chairmen in control of the committees.
This means that instead of being a good example of the democratic process, individual committee chairmen can decide on what and when to bring up issues and they and their fellow party members almost always vote as a block.
Junior congressmen and senators who have promised their constituents that they are going to reform Washington politics when they get there have virtually no power even when appointed to committees because they generally must do the bidding of the senior party members whether they agree with them or not.
One of the first lessons that newcomers in Congress learn is that they must spend the bulk of their time raising funds for the next election.
The committee system virtually guarantees that most of the legislation introduced by members—old and new, and especially new members—goes directly into a black hole and never sees the light of day. Actually, given the purpose and quality of much of the legislation that is not all bad!
Two New Branches of Government!
The political system in the United States today has morphed into a kind of multi-headed monster that mitigates against common sense and rational, focused behavior. One of the reasons for this is the appearance of two new unofficial branches of government that are not by the people or for the people.
These are the far left and the far right elements of the news media and the lobbyists—both individual lobbyist who must register and account for the money they spend, and the far more powerful corporate entities from non-profits to unions that do not have to register as lobbyists and over which there are no restraints on how much money they can use to buy political influence.
The combination of the dark sides of these two unofficial branches of government poisons the political atmosphere and prevents the legal branches of government from doing the job they were designed to do.
In goes without saying that these unofficial branches of government are not going to change their spots or their behavior. It is also obvious that the influence of the lobby branch is so powerful that elected officials cannot legislate it out of business—although efforts have been made to rein it in.
That leaves it up to untainted public officials, journalists and the public at large to identify and expose the individuals, companies and organizations that have usurped the legitimate powers of the government to the point that they become ineffective and wither away. Good luck on that!
***This blog was excerpted from my book: THE PLAGUE OF MALE DOMINANCE – The Cause and Cure!, available in ebook and printed formats from Amazon.com.
Boyé Lafayette De Mente has been involved with Asia since the late 1940s as a member of a U.S. intelligence agency, journalist and editor. He is a graduate of Jōchi University in Tokyo, Japan and Thunderbird School of Global Management in Glendale, Arizona, USA. In addition to books on the business practices, social behavior and languages of China, Japan, Korea and Mexico he has written extensively about the moral collapse of the U.S. along with books on his home state of Arizona. To see a full list of his books go to: www.authorsonlinebookshop.com. Recent books include: CHINA Understanding & Dealing with the Chinese Way of Doing Business; JAPAN Understanding & Dealing with the NEW Japanese Way of Doing Business; AMERICA’S FAMOUS HOPI INDIANS; ARIZONA’S LORDS OF THE LAND [the Navajos] and SPEAK JAPANESE TODAY – A Little Language Goes a Long Way!