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An Engaged Citizenry

July 3, 2018
By Darren Fraser , Emmetsburg News

As a younger man, I cared nothing about politics. The first time I was eligible to vote, I voted Libertarian because I though it would make me cool. I did not know what Libertarian meant.

It is only in recent years I have investigated what state and D.C. politicians do. When I understood, I became enraged and I made a vow to do something about it.

I suspect Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer are under contractual obligation to utter the phrase "American people" at least three times when either is making an address. What do these men know about the American people?

In 2015, over half the members of Congress were millionaires. Many are millionaires many times over. These include the limousine liberals: Pelosi, Delaney, Feinstein. This is what I find so astonishing when President Trump's supporters say he is one of them. Trump is a billionaire. He may resonate with us commoners because he has a way of speaking that appears down home and earnest. Make no mistake: billionaires have nothing in common with you or me.

I do not begrudge anyone his or her wealth. I object to rich politicians believing they know what is right for the rest of us. Worse, this avuncular attitude morphs into morality or value proclamations. It is not enough our politicians assume what they are doing is best for their constituents; they also believe it is the moral thing to do.

Politics has nothing to do with morality. Politics is about taking tax dollars and applying those dollars judiciously and without bias to addressing the problems confronting this nation.

Senator David Johnson says Farm Bureau contributed $685,000 to state Republicans between 2010 and 2016. In other words, Farm Bureau lobbied hard to advance its agenda; lobbying is part of politics. Lobbying does not mean owning. Outside entities have every right to court politicians but do not have the right to extort agreements.

Grover Norquist is the president of Americans for Tax Reform. ATR's credo is reduce taxes. ATR demands every incoming Republican to sign its Taxpayer Protection Pledge. In short, "I promise not to raise taxes or face damnation." Hyperbole? Perhaps. But when you consider the life of a congress member without financial or party backing is shorter than that of a mayfly, you understand just how precarious a politician's career is if he or she dare go against the grain.

The Senate's farm bill passed with nary a second look. This is because no one could muster the enthusiasm to read it. At over 1000 pages, it taxes the patience of Job. There were 75 amendments submitted to the bill. What bill did we get? What is in it? How does it affect Iowa farmers? How does it affect Iowans on SNAP or TANF?

If you are happy with President Trump, fantastic. If not, consider this from Johnson. I asked him what he intends to do now, and he replied he will become an engaged citizen. He will work hard for the issues he believes in. He will hold politicians accountable for their actions. He will not allow apathy to dictate his decisions. He will refuse to accept the belief the problems of this country are too big for one person to do anything about.

We all need to become engaged citizens.

 
 
 

 

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