Problems persist in politics

I don’t like to be negative; that’s why I shun writing about politics, but sometimes I lose my cool, and froth at the mouth. Most people have their trenches dug anyway, and I don’t expect to change anyone’s mind. Furthermore, to me the future of mankind doesn’t depend on our politicians as much as on our ability to control them.

I’m sure there are many people in politics that see it as a calling, and wish to do their best to continue the development of the United States to its fullest potential, for the betterment of all of humanity. Unfortunately there are also many politicians who would be more properly classed as opportunists, who never miss a chance to grease the wheels of their own wagon while there is a supply of grease available. Perhaps that’s why Benjamin Franklin said. “We have given you a republic, if you can keep it.” He was familiar with the many variations of human nature.

What seems to be the result today is that politics in America has become a struggle for power, not for the people as originally intended, but for the ruling politicians. That has always been the case in most governments in general. They, like the kings and tyrants of old, expect or hope for lifetime reign, passing laws which do not intrude upon their own lives, while they enjoy retirement plans, health care systems, and other perks that would bankrupt the country if everyone enjoyed them.

The main reason our Social Security retirement system is in trouble, is because the money we paid in has often been used for other things. That is a gross disrespect of the citizenry which support them. Can you even imagine how many people have paid into that system for years, and not lived long enough to receive any benefit, or at best more than a few months of benefits. Now it would appear that we are losing it year by year.

The thing that is a real problem is the basic disregard that politicians of both parties have for what the rules of our government are. That is the Constitution. When a president assumes office, they swear an oath that they will preserve, protect and defend our Constitution. This is done with great solemnity.

Then the big battle of the country is to get Justices on the Supreme Court who share your sympathies. Then you can pass any kind of law you want, and your carefully chosen judges will rationalize to declare it Constitutional. If this were not the case, and all judges followed the law as written, what difference would it make who gets appointed? The Constitution is not that complicated. To quote President Clinton in a defensive position, “It all depends on what it is.”

My basic argument: There are seven articles in the Constitution, and 27 amendments. These are the agreed upon laws to govern the government. The 10th amendment states: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” There is nothing in the Constitution that gives the right to the federal government to control the education of our children, to control a federal retirement system for its citizens, or even a medical heath care system for the population. I do not necessarily object to these things, but I do object that they are established illegally, and to be controlled by unelected federal bureaucrats. To do any of this, an amendment to the Constitution would legally be necessary, but that would take the approval of the States and their people. Why do politicians continually do these things in this way? While each step seems insignificant, we don’t realize how we are slowly losing our freedoms. Just as each seemingly harmless, but feel good puff on a cigarette, is another step towards lung cancer.

In a large country like ours, with millions of diverse people, with great divisions of ethnicity, life styles and livelihoods, one size will never fit everyone. The federal government is too large, and too distant, to attempt to micro-manage our daily lives with any compassion. It is doomed to promote more black-market and secret scheming than good government. Socialism has showed us that when the people must depend on their government more than on themselves, incentive is lost.

Without an incentive people behave differently, and with less interest, than when they must be more responsible for themselves. We are people, not cattle. May God bless America.

Richard Westlund is a Collins resident. Send comments to