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If the Founding Fathers failed in any regard, they failed to make governance sufficiently horrible, thankless, difficult, rancorous, disagreeable, and ineffective. No doubt once they found themselves in it, they discovered just how awful it really was, but they failed to keep it that way.
Little by little, steps have been taken, salaries increased, perks added, trappings acknowledged, and holding office has morphed into the insular, protected, self-congratulatory, celebrity, investment club that it now is. To paraphrase Mel Brooks: it’s good to be the government.
Our government used to be the place where only prominent, wealthy, self-less men took on the thankless tasks of self-governance. Now it’s the place where the politically ambitious rise to gain wealth and prominence. It’s full of carpet baggers and grifters on all sides of the aisle. They aspire to Washington as that’s the place where the real money and power is. Forget that the real work of government should be a tedious grind of difficult choices. “Go along, get along” is the motto; that and “You’ll get yours.”
So hard budget choices? Fageddabout it. We’ll just run deficits and borrow. Better yet, we’ll borrow from the Federal Reserve and let them worry about where the money comes from (have paper and ink, will travel.) Conflicts around the world? Let’s wring our hands, talk about how awful it is, how it could all be different if there were just more opportunities, if we could just all be friends, if we could sit down and talk, share a cup of tea or a beer.
Do you feel your opportunities are limited, that success is passing you by? Look to the successful, not to emulate them, but to despise them. They are hoarding all the success, not paying their fair share, and that makes you a victim, their victim.
Are actuarially certain bombs set to go off in the Social Security and Medicare systems? Ignore the hissing fuses. Thinking about those issues just makes everyone’s head hurt. Instead, say you’ll fight for those programs. Fight, fight, fight. You’re a fighter.
Our government is all unicorns and rainbows, with you, the determined Congressman, Senator, President, fighting, fighting, to keep it that way while you golf, vacation, make money, make more money and go along to get along, la di da. It’s a wonderful job and a wonderful life.
But it was never meant to be so, and it cannot last.
I have a new rule for conservatives: never vote for a candidate for office who likes the job. The time for hard choices is coming.