Reclaiming our country

Wednesday , October 24, 2012 - 1:05 PM

Suresh Kulkarni

My wife and I recently returned from a trip to the UK where we met people from several nations. Many told us how sorry they felt for us after seeing what Congress and Wall Street have done to our country. They felt that the U.S. is on a declining path rather than one of world leadership.

The cost of this upcoming election is close to $2 billion for just the presidential office alone. Who knows what the overall cost of every race amounts to? What a shame to spend this money on ads that do not benefit those in need. The talking heads on the many news channels spend endless time just focusing on and repeating "he said/she said."

The Supreme Court has seriously damaged the election process by allowing Super PACs to go unchecked on what and how much they can spend in the name of freedom of speech.

So how do we reclaim our country and not allow it be hijacked by powerful Super PACs, special-interest groups, Wall Street fat cats, a polarized Congress which refuses to work together, TV news channels made filthy rich by running endless political ads, and innumerable talking heads who claim they know what we think? There’s a flood of half-truths and lies in the airwaves without anyone being accountable to the people.

I’m going to focus on Box Elder County because that’s where I live. We should all be very thankful to the people who run for public office. These candidates are making a huge sacrifice in their desire to serve our country while exposing themselves and their families to extreme scrutiny and ridicule.

First, please do not vote a "straight party" ticket. We should urge our state legislature to get rid of the "straight party" portion of the ballot. This is an insult to the good and decent people who are running for office. No one party can claim that their candidates are uniquely qualified to serve in every office.

Secondly, pay close attention to the ballot and learn as much as we can about the candidates and the issues. The Standard-Examiner plans to run a series of in-depth articles on the candidates and what they stand for, as well as the Constitutional amendments.

Thirdly, limit the terms of office-holders. This is the only way I know of to change the direction of our country. Our politicians have sold their souls to the Super PACs and special interest groups, and they no longer feel accountable to us.

My ground rule is two terms for Senate and five terms for Congress in the state and in Washington. Being in public office for 10 years is enough. We do not need career politicians. Remember, not one of the current office holders is indispensable. Putting this principle into practice, the constant turnover that will take place will ensure that money and power will not have a hook in our elected leaders. Looking at the Box Elder County ballot the candidates who do not meet my rule are: Hatch who has been in office since 1976 and Bishop since 2003.

Hatch and Bishop need to be defeated. We have paid them hundreds of thousands of dollars in salaries and benefits. They have served their useful purpose, have become highly partisan, and do very little for us in Utah and the nation.

They are full of hot air when it comes to saving ATK or Hill Air Force Base jobs. They run on the platform of "If Romney is elected, all the country’s problems will be solved." Hogwash!

Pertaining to Gov. Herbert’s bid for re-election: he has a very shady background when it comes to campaign contributions. All one has to do is look at Wikipedia (online encyclopedia) to understand how he panders to rich donors. One of these caused us Utah taxpayers to shell out $13 million to avoid a lawsuit. I prefer candidates with clean backgrounds.

The fourth priority is to vote. The typical 20-40 percent turnout in our county is pathetic. In Perry where I live, out of 2,646 registered voters, I can count on about 700 or 26 percent showing up to vote in every election. About 75 percent of these are seniors. Sadly missing are a majority of the younger and middle aged voters.

If we want to reclaim our country, we need to have a turnout of at least 80 percent. Only then will we be sending a message that we are determined to put the country back on track.

If we don’t practice the "forced term limit" approach, it will probably take a generation for the country to correct itself. When our forefathers conceived the Constitution, they never imagined that one day we would have career politicians running the country whose sole purpose is to say and do whatever it takes to get elected and stay in office.

So get registered, educate yourself about the ballot and the candidates, vote, and help us rebuild the country.

Kulkarni lives in Perry

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