Former Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska died this morning in an airplane crash. He lived a full life, and many will say he did much to expand the economy of Alaska through the use of federal dollars. For many Alaskans, Ted Stevens was a heroic political figure. All this true and said, Ted Stevens' way of governing, seemingly appropriate for his time in the Senate, is now one of America's greatest liabilities and challenges to overcome. May Ted Stevens and his way of governing rest in peace. The time for fundamental change is well passed due.
With every Congress person competing for federal dollars for their State or local district, is it any wonder our federal government is going broke faster than a bullet train in Japan? When Ted Stevens garnered support for federal dollars to be spent in Alaska, that money was to come from the pockets of every tax paying American of all 50 States, or, if deficit dollars were used, from the next generation's pockets in the form of higher taxes. Ted Stevens was a Republican. Ted Stevens was a conservative. If Republicans and conservatives follow Ted Stevens' legacy, there simply is no governing Party standing and fighting for fiscal responsibility, contrary to all the lies and campaign rhetoric to the contrary.
Over the decades, millions of bridges to nowhere with various names like 'invading Iraq', subsidies to religious charitable organizations, and 100's of billions of tax payer dollars paid to corporations like Haliburton for literally nothing of benefit to America or Americans in the name of national security, have put America's financial health into the Emergency Room. The steady growth of national debt combined with the steady erosion of real wages since the 1970's has brought America down to its economic knees. And from this position, America has to fight at every level of the public sector to pass legislation that will halt deficits and this lethal growth of national debt.
Yet, that is not how our representatives in State and federal governments view their position as political representatives. The vast majority of our representatives are still in Ted Stevens mode. They continue to place their political aspirations and goals, and the demands of their local constituents, ahead of the demands of our nation's economic health and well being, going forward. This is akin to taking aspirin to treat brain cancer. The headache may go away in the short term, but the cancer will grow unabated, and kill you. The State and local governments along with all who live under them, cannot survive a failed national government or, a failed national economy, unless they are very wealthy and have their passports intact to move to another stable country when America fails.
The political parties that promote their candidate's election and reelection are beholding to some very wealthy special interest contributors who pay for the campaign expenses. The politicians themselves are also beholding to other wealthy special interests who underwrite their election or reelection campaign expenses. These politicians are not going to voluntarily bite the hands that pay their election campaign expenses. This means our politicians are going to continue to rob from our nation's future to repay the special interest contributors whose agenda is focused on what gains them in the short run, between elections. This is Ted Stevens style governance, though, to be sure, this modality of governing has been shared by all but a rare few politicians, for decades.
Not since the first Constitutional Convention, the War of 1812, the Civil War, and the Great Depression, has America been in this position which demands that its elected leaders put immediate and political concerns aside, in order to address the potential failure of the nation standing before them. Unlike these previous milestones in American history, our current political system prevents our elected leaders from doing what they need to do to overcome the threat facing us all.
The political parties and politicians are going to spend more than a billion dollars buying your and my vote with deceptions, distortions, and manipulations, along with touting how they have, or will, bring federal dollars home to their local voters (raising our national debt even more, feeding the cancer.). Both Parties and their candidates will attempt to convince us that their opponents will kill America's future. Both Parties will lie about this. The simple truth is, both Parties are responsible for making the defeat of their political opponents the higher priority to saving this nation from ruin. And as long as they are fighting each other for power, they won't be rescuing our nation. They can't. To save our nation's future, they must work together on common ground for solutions which they will all stand by and defend now, and into the future. Working together in this manner stands in total and complete contradiction to each party's first priority of defeating their political opponents and blaming the other party for the nation's decline.
If America is to be saved from crippling national debt as well as crippling losses of basic government services like education, police, fire and emergency medical services, libraries, safe roads, water, and sewage treatment, and public health protection, it is the voters who will save it. The politicians haven't the political motivation to work together to save our future. When, however, if it is not too late, enough voters reject the reelection of incumbents from both parties, in effect rejecting both parties themselves outright, then, and only then, will the political parties and their politicians have the motivation to put their differences and political fights aside, and earn those anti-incumbent voter's confidence back, by addressing and standing by the solutions they create to save our future. It is only when the voters reject the politicians and prevent their reelection, that the politicians that do get elected will again work to represent the common demand of the people to save this nation in the long term.
The time for politicians manipulating the voters is over. Ted Stevens is dead. The time for voters to manipulate the politicians into doing what they should have all along, has come. The more voters reject the sitting politicians on Election Day, the more the politicians will embrace this common demand of the voters to save this nation's future.
(This article was previously published at Vote Out Incumbents for Democracy)