READER’S EDITORIAL: CARROTS WITHOUT STICKS

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By David Secor, candidate, 50th Congressional District

May 2, 2012 (San Diego’s East County)--When it comes to the current gridlock in Washington, average citizens are justifiably outraged as machine politicians refuse to take any meaningful actions.  They ignore the voters who sent them to Washington, yet work day and night for the special-interests who funnel big money to their campaigns.

 

There are two basic problems that lead to gridlock:  A tsunami of money and a trickle of pain.

1) Money.  Invariably, in both parties, personal gain and legal bribery are the bases for our representatives’ actions.  If the bribes from special-interests and wealthy individuals are three times greater than the salary we pay them, who do you think “your” representatives are working for?  This is a fundamental truth.  Until we get the money out of politics, quality government of, by and for the people is impossible.  This is true in both major parties.

2)  No pain.  The privileged or wealthy that represent us have not experienced the very real battles the vast majority of us must face every day, or if they once did, have forgotten their past and succumbed to greed and bribery (Problem #1).  If your representative has never been laid off, never stood in an unemployment line, never been without insurance, always been the boss and never the worker, always the officer and never the enlisted man, always had a family with resources and influence to bail them out, then by definition, he or she simply doesn’t know what it means to live every day with disaster just one misstep, one injury or illness, or one job loss away.  If our representatives lived the real struggles and pain the middle class faces every day, they would be highly motivated to fight for us.  The truth is that that kind of pain is unknown to them.  Sure, they see it from a distance, but somehow it doesn’t register.  Listen to them talk, watch them vote.  The talk is just that, and their votes hurt workers, the elderly, students, women and all of us who have been handed all the burdens but none of the relief.
It’s simple – Privileged and wealthy representatives have no skin in the game. Example:  The people absolutely need social security and Medicare, the privileged and wealthy do not.  Example:  Workers would love to have 100% pensions for life.  Our representatives already do.  We pay for them.  Politicians who already have secure retirements see no problem with legislation that would send their older constituents into abject poverty.   If my representative pays $400/month out-of-pocket for government health insurance for his entire family, insurance issues don’t mean much to him.  I pay $625/month for myself with a Group Plan, plus $300/month for my wife.  For individuals and families who must buy their own insurance on the open market the cost is far higher than that, and for many it’s totally impossible.  In the middle class these issues are real, but they do not affect the privileged who readily dish out the pain, but never have to take it.
Ask yourself this question:  Is my representative out to be something, or to do something?  In the June 5th primary the top 2 of 5 candidates will face off in November.  Before voting as you always have, consider those candidates who refuse to take bribes, whose life history is like yours, whose vision for our future is totally grounded in the restoration of a thriving middle class with real opportunity for all.  Our kids and grandkids will either thank and praise us, or curse and damn us, depending on what we do.    
One thing is clear.  We, the people, can no longer allow corrupted politicians to determine our priorities.  I agree with the adage from the Hopi elders:  We are the people we’ve been waiting for.
The opinions in this editorial reflect the views of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of East County Magazine. To submit an editorial for consideration, contact editor@eastcountymagazine.org