Us versus Congress

Monday , October 21, 2013 - 1:12 PM

Standard-Examiner, Suresh Kulkarni

Our way of life and our country’s standing in the world is under serious threat because of the behavior of our elected members in Congress, in particular those with minority opinions like Rob Bishop, Mike Lee, Jason Chaffetz and Chris Stewart.

Even, long-time members like Orrin Hatch and Jim Matheson appear to have lost their marbles and show a tendency to join them. Mia Love, who plans to run against Matheson, is another Mike Lee in the making and God help us if she’s elected and starts spouting off like Lee.

The latest polls show that 51 percent of us are neutrals, 21 percent are liberals and 28 percent are conservatives. The unfortunate thing about our elections is very few of the neutrals come out to vote.

For instance, in the last general election in 2012, the national turnout was 58 percent with Utah the lowest at 53.1 percent — pathetic! Experts tell us that if we had a 75 percent-80 percent turnout in the United States, the makeup of Congress would look very different than it does today. In many civilized nations it is 80 percent-90 percent. In some countries voting is mandatory.

America used to be a shining light for the rest of the world in all leadership qualities: civility, governance, teamwork, ethical behavior, and compassion for the needy. None of these attributes are exhibited anymore by several members in Congress.

They are selfish, arrogant, egotistical and are liars who couldn’t care less if people suffer because of their actions. Bishop, Chaffetz, Lee and Stewart voted to default and to keep the government shut down in spite of the fact that hardworking people were pleading for help. Shame on them!

When I came to the U.S. from India in 1967, I was amazed at how wonderful a country this was in all aspects.

I would continually write home about how every country in the world should use the U.S. as a benchmark on how to conduct itself. It was a delight to return home and answer questions about what living here was like.

The pride I felt when I became a citizen was indescribable.

Now my Indian friends say that the world ought to join in shipping us “super glue” so we can patch our government together.

One extremely important criteria in private industry is that people are judged by their ability to work in a team. If they can’t, they are out the door. I am convinced that if Bishop had worked in private industry, he would have been terminated.

So what do we have to do to get the country back?

1. Get out and vote and bring others to do the same

2. Never vote for an incumbent; instead, campaign against them.

3. Support Utah’s “Count My Vote” initiative. The caucus system is flawed.

4. The redistricting process by parties for political gain (called gerrymandering) must stop. It is a farce today. See www.gerrymandering.com

5. We need term limits. Go on a crusade to have newspapers, news organizations and TV news forums quit the “he-said-she-said” reporting. They should start educating us by writing editorials and presenting segments on how to get term limits. Forget Congress. They don’t want to do this.

6. Push for open books on all contributions to candidates. Everything is hidden now. Remember that Edward R. Murrow of CBS News started the crusade against the demagogue Joseph McCarthy, senator from Wisconsin, who had blacklisted good people as communists.

In the U.S. we now have a two-caste system: Congress on top and the common folks at the bottom. Congress panders to the very rich. I’m sure many of us have seen the following list of helpful rules to change Congress:

1. No tenure/no pension. A congressperson collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when out of office.

2. Congress (past, present and future) participates in Social Security. All funds in the congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security system immediately. All future funds flow into the Social Security system, and Congress participates with the American people. It may not be used for any other purpose.

3. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans do.

4. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Congressional pay will rise by the lower of the Consumer Price Index, or 3 percent.

5. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people.

6. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people.

7. All contracts with past and present congresspersons are void. The American people did not make this contract with Congress. Congresspersons made all these contracts for themselves. Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, so ours should serve their term(s), then go home and back to work.

Let’s make it happen and we can do it if we the people all work together.

Kulkarni lives in Perry.

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