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The Road to Truth is Paved by Politicians

May 10, 2016 4 Comments



“There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way, and not sharing.”
The Buddha

The truth for a grade school student is not the same as the truth for a senior citizen. Perspective is the reason we believe one thing or another at any given time.  Now we see through a glass darkly, but then face to face.  This means that we have more knowledge of the bigger picture as we mature and travel along the road to truth.  We should be acquiring sophistication and compassion for other living things as we become more visionary on this path.  Observation of the world political situation leads us to believe that we are failing at that mission. We have wandered off the route into unmapped territory.  Dark ignorance and evil intent appear to be taking ground in the battle against harmony and peace.

In all fairy tales and mythology the hero learns from tragic mistakes.  At the end of the story the moral is clear and the lesson is imprinted in the mind of the audience.  Once committed the hero has no choice.  Like Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita, the hero is taught mastery through trust in divine guidance in freaky circumstances.  He fights the symbolic battles he finds obstructing his way.  The hero is fated to go all the way. That is what distinguishes his character from others. He finishes the difficult job, then shares the wisdom he has found within his quest.  He saves the day and teaches an important social and political object lesson to the people.

Action without attachment was the lesson Krishna taught Arjuna during the heat of battle.  It is impossible to know the moral of a story until it ends, so it is imperative that the hero finish his job.  As I experience the presidential politics of 2016 I certainly hope there is a blue guy driving the chariot who will lead us into a surprise ending.  These are certainly freaky circumstances with strong catalytic tendencies.  How do you think this story will end, gentle reader?  Fill in the blank.



Bitter End

November 3, 2012 8 Comments

bitterness tree

What are the factors that leave the bitter and putrid taste we have in our mouths from the election year?  Some feel the Supremes let all the dogs out when the allowed superpac money to influence us without disclosure.  I believe we know which interests support which candidates, so the secrecy is not the issue exactly.  What I notice this year is that wounds are the stars of the show.  The festering rust belt unemployment wound is pitted against the draught stricken farmer wound, or the immigration wound, with the neediest winning temporary, meaningless attention. Like siblings in a poverty stricken family who must srcap for  everything, childish whining leaders of the government constantly remind us of the undeserving nature of the other side of the aisle.  We know never to believe the statements they make or the reason they employ.  We know they are all in the pockets of the lobbyists.  Nobody has any faith that the  greedy, out of control people who spend our tax money have any principals that do not bend for funding. Our government is corrupt, which means that we pay for a lot of action that is destructive rather than productive.

The congress likes to tell the story that they make sausage.  They throw all the requests together in order to make laws that will pass both houses.  The lobbyist funding that influences every vote speaks much louder than the public interest. The public interest has no lobby, and therefore is not powerful enough to take a senator out to a fancy lunch or ball game to discuss the public’s point of view.  The federal government has not had time to do it’s job for years because it is campaigning all the time.  The need to feed the political machine to keep the candidate on the trail starts and ends with corporate and industry lobbies built for the purpose of  creating legislation favorable to partisan causes.  This is why the sausage is always full of disgusting unknown substances and crazy consequences.  Nobody is the wiser, since the bills generally are almost impossible to read or comprehend.  Nobody expects these laws to be enforced.  That is what seems to me to be the big bitter joke.

The most important factor that creates that bitterness is lack of enforcement.  The lawmakers put on some Kabuki theater of right and wrong through legislation wars.  In the meantime, we maintain gigantic agencies with so little oversight and supervision that nothing works.  All these laws on the books require offices full of civil servants, and buildings, vehicles, and infrastructure.  None of them seems to require enforcement.  The civil servants drive around in the civil vehicles ignoring fraud and corruption.  They are concerned primarily with the benefits of their jobs, the continuation of their jobs, and doing as little work as possible.  Enforcement is the least of their concern. Since the elected official who is in charge of the office is absent campaigning, waste is the word of the day.

Non Stop Bucks

October 10, 2012 4 Comments

I am not the only one wishing the political campaign dollars had been spent on the real problems instead of talking about those problems while blaming others. If you have children who must compete for attention, dollars, education, etc, picture a nation of these children. The soon to be elected leaders are trying to become head of our national household. They are advertising, traveling, and spending money like crazy to convince voters that they are the best for the job.  The race it self is boring, but the budgets to bore are outrageous.  Vast sums that can be traced to donors, and even bigger super pacs whose donations remain anonymous run the heavily negative ads.

Imagine how your life would be if the members of your household voted on the leadership who control the money spent in the household. What kind of ads would be run to woo the members of your family?  Politics always chooses winners and losers by crafting legislation.  This never ending cycle of winning/loosing/changing the laws is paid for by the people subject to those laws.  Parents and monarchs can dispense with being elected or making a promise to anyone. We know what to expect from their performance after we observe them in action.  Some are wise, some silly, egomaniacal, or weak.  The good ones seem to get better with time and experience.  They do not need to constantly campaign to stay in the monarchy or parenthood, so they can develop wisdom with all that spare time.

The country that allows all this wasteful expenditure on political campaigning is not in a position to afford to blow so much money.  Part of the big argument is about the nation’s debt.  I do not see any future in keeping the system that proclaims that  we are too big to stop borrowing and too cranky to agree on how to spend money.  The Swiss are famously cranky about how to spend money, but have solved this problem within their political system.  They keep the tax revenues in the canton, working for the people who paid the taxes, as they see fit.  They have, but do not go overboard, with the idea of a federal government.  There is a beautiful building in Bern to house the congress, which has two chambers, similar to our own.  There are no lobbyists, no free parties for the federal employees who serve in the Bundeshaus.  In fact, congress is in session in Bern for only 25% of the year.  The rest of the time these civil servants go live at home and make a living like other citizens.  The salary to serve is not high, so they must want to do it for the service aspect.  I wish the US congress could be treated like that.  If they did not have that full time free lunch waiting for them every day from lobbyists, they might be able to work effectively for the people who paid all those taxes.  Throwing new groups of bums out every 4 years does not seem to be leading to enlightened governance. It makes sense to throw out the system that creates all these bums.

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