Municipal Government

The Growing Arteriosclerosis of America’s Political Institutions

January 30, 2011
Thomas J. Mackell Jr.

When Newt Gingrich arrived in Congress in 1978 he said that…. “We the Republicans are not going to be able to take over unless we demonize the Democrats.”
And demonize them he did. His remarks helped to embellish on and heighten the dramatic schism that has grown to out-and-out, hand-to-hand political combat in Washington today where each party is seemingly locked into their political orthodoxy.

Serious ailments in the political dialogue are at play today and were really evidenced during the debt-ceiling clowning debacle this summer that included: ideological rigidity bordering on radical fanaticism, the inability to embrace facts and their indifference to relying on those facts, a lack of intellectual integrity to think beyond their short-term America mentality, and the dissolution of the national interest into divisive partisan advantage.

People do have a great capacity for self-deception when dealing with the facts. We focus on the facts we like and suppress or disregard the ones that we don’t. Congress inflates its own virtues and masks its behavior and attempts to convince its constituents that they are behaving nobly and boldly. Nothing could be further from the truth. They are truly a bunch of fakers.
Voters know how ineffective our Congress has been for some 30 years, having pushed making decisions on really important issues down the road. Polling results show that 91% of Americans polled by CBS think that Congress is not doing its job. In fact, as bazaar as it may seem, the notion of Communism as a more idealistic state in this poll won over what Congress’ behavior is failing to do.
When will Congress overcome their natural tendencies to evade important, imperative decision-making and abandon their self-deception? It is terribly hard to believe that they are earning their pay as they slave on behalf of lobbyists and industries when we know that they are definitely not representing the interests of their constituents, namely, hard-working Americans but, rather, the interests of those lobbyists who line their pockets with corporate largess.
We must take the money out of politics if we hope to change the agenda. It is up to us all to help alter the landscape.

Thomas J. Mackell, Jr. Ed.D., Senior Partner, Black Thorn Lynch Associates, Inc., former Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond and author of: “When the Good Pensions Go Away: Why America Needs a New Deal for Pension and Health Care Reform.”


January 30, 2012

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