Recently during the reporting of Edward Kennedy's death a phrase was thrown about which I began to examine. That phrase was public service. The Senator had 47 years of public service. Now I am not going to pick on Kennedy. History, if allowed to be truthful, will deal with the Kennedys. No, this essay will deal with some more words which seem to have selective meanings. In other words, they have definitions which satisfy the agenda of the user of those words. Politicians use the term public service and I would use the phrase feeding at the public trough. As we go forward in this writing I think you will get my drift.
The next word is lobbyist. That word sounds so professional, so clean, so legitimate. What if we used the true term and called them bribers or extortionists? Another good definition might be influence peddler. After all, what do they do? They buy legislation for their clients. Groups like the AMA, the AARP, the Trial Lawyers, and too many more to count throw money around Washington to make sure that their client's turf and wealth are protected. When this practice is done by a lobbyist it appears so legal. But we should call it what it is.
This then brings us to the next phrase, campaign contribution. Humorist and philosopher Will Rogers once said many years ago, "We have the finest Congress money can buy." Nothing has changed except for the amount of money flowing into the hands of a few elected representatives of the people who become very wealthy in just a short time in Washington. Consider this. You feel very strongly about a particular candidate for office so you decide to contribute $100.00 to his or her campaign. Let's just say that a large corporation also feels very strongly that this same candidate, if elected, could be very instrumental in forwarding their agenda. So you both contribute but the corporation gives $10,000.00 to the campaign. Your candidate is elected and you want to access your new Representative for an issue that is in opposition to the corporation's agenda. Who do you think is going to be favored with both the access and the favorable legislation? The one hundred dollar contributor doesn't have a chance. In other words, money talks.
Of course the next of many words is campaign war chest. That is nothing more than the wealth amassed by the "bribe-e" contributed by the "bribe-er". This amassed money serves to insure that the particular Representative will continue to have the means to defeat any challenger in the future. A statement credited to an Assemblyman in California, Big Daddy Jesse Unruh, was that money is the mother's milk of politics. Unfortunately and sadly that seems to be very true.
I could go on about how words are changed to reflect the agenda of the user. It is not the exclusive province of politicians. Advertisers do it. Salesmen do it. What we the people must do though is not just blindly accept what Washington is selling and examine the true meaning of the words that they are using. If you are satisfied with legislation being passed by people who accept bribes, then this rant is probably not for you, but if, like me, you are fed up with this practice, then scream loudly and long until it is brought under some kind of control. We cannot compete with big labor unions, or teacher's groups or big pharmaceuticals, but we can remember on election day. Your one vote is worth more than all the money the bribers can spend. Spend your vote wisely.
My final word today is skeptic. That pretty much identifies me and I hope all who read these musings.
Ron Scarbro September 7, 2009
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