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"Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power."   Abraham Lincoln

                                                           Hello. My name is Susan Haley. I am of the vanishing middle-class wage earners in this nation, a typical Michigan transplant from the era when "So goes General Motors, so goes the country." I live in the 13th Congressional District of Florida. Congressman Vern Buchanan (R) is my representative in the hallowed halls of the United States Congress. I am represented in the Senate by Senator Bill Nelson (D) and Senator George Lemieux (R). Although, I do use the word 'represented' loosely. I don't think any American citizen is really 'represented' by congress these days, with a very few possible exceptions. I can think of a couple like Wiener from New York or Grayson from Florida. Nor, do I think we are being 'served', another loose word, by the administration, the Supreme Court, or any of the multitudes of layers of government bureaucracy to which we are forced to pay salaries and benefits that we will never work hard enough to receive.

The country, as we once knew it, is buried in the annals of history. America, in my opinion, is now two totally separate societies. Those who do the work and produce, who supply the myriad of service personnel, and provide the revenue that is way overspent on things we have no say so about, creating a debt that is so unrealistic to think of as ever being paid, make up the masses, the general populace. The remainder is made up of a very small minority, the elite class, who controls the money, legislates and interprets the laws and climbs to power and wealth over the backs of the producers and the naivete in the polling booths.  

Even the opportunities for the workers to be productive have been outsourced to foreign countries whose people will work for next to nothing and no benefits at all. This, in turn, adds to the huge profits of the Super Corporations like banks, oil companies, insurance conglomerates and pharmaceuticals. Now, the Military Industrial Complex can be added to that list. It's truly a double-edged sword of destruction to the American dream and the American ways of life we were all taught to revere in my generation.

There's a saying out here in the real world that says, "How do we know when a politician is lying? When their lips are moving." One can choose any political rhetoric or slogan used over the last fifty years and reiterate verbatim, but for possibly an opponent's name change. The promises never change and the problems only continue to mount. Solutions are usually band-aids to ward off a crisis for the next seat change to grapple with. Only the level of sincerity changes and it continues to plummet campaign after campaign.  

Politicians have become masters at playing their constituents for total fools and probably with good reason. The general populace is open to foolishness like a desert is open to rain for a spring bloom of cactus flowers. It's so much easier to rave and join the chest-beating bandwagon chanting 'take our country back' than learning the issues, researching the evidence and past performance of a candidate, and then spending some real critical thinking time. Most have lost the ability to think and analyze anything critically beyond the crossword puzzle, the society pages or the sports section. Information comes from the Internet, the cable news hype, social networks and forwarded email rants rarely containing a grain of fact. If our representatives really believed we might stand together and 'take our country back' the overall congressional heart rate would increase to dangerous levels. The Congress knows we won't take the initiative. You might be opportunists, but you aren't stupid.

We've become an instant gratification society of insatiable wants and needs. All hands reach out to the government for such provisions whether it is in the form of a pure entitlement program, subsidizing all the states for education, roads and infrastructure, national security, environmental protections, food safety, water safety, air traffic safety, etc. etc. etc. the list is endless! Parents expect to be subsidized for educating their children, paying for day care, or even having them! Or, we look for tax credits for everything we contribute to society as a whole whether it be a charitable donation or a new heating system! Surely, there must be a reward for us in it, too. Or, we search for tax loopholes, deductions, reductions or in some extreme cases even downright cheating.  

President John F. Kennedy's immortal words "ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country, falls on deaf ears, and in some cases, yes, lazy shoulders. The American troops fighting wars started in back room haggles being the exception. One has to wonder how many wars would be waged if the war mongers had to do the belly crawling into the trenches while dodging the bullets and airborne artillery shelling. Or, perhaps the body parts of a fellow. Everybody hates big government, but the demands for, and on, government intervention, aid and protection continue to escalate. The bureaucratic layers multiply and the right hand has no idea what the left hand is doing. Welcome to the new America!  

So now, we are again faced with a major election. Now, we have the midterms. Seats change and it's someone else's turn to 'ram' through their programs or to do nothing to insure the failure of the changed seats, accomplished with an insane idea called the filibuster. Once again, we must either ignore completely, or be subjected to volumes of rhetoric all heard before. More and more promises will be made and even more broken. A couple of weeks prior to the day of actually marking the ballot, the gloves will come off and the real dirt will start being slung.  

Once elected by these elegant semantics, character destruction of opponents, or so much money buying the seat that election is almost guaranteed, the next goal is to remain in that job for as long as possible regardless of what must be done or sold to keep it. Re-election is the soul goal of a politician once in place even if it means selling their own.

It's very easy for a huge conglomerate to 'place' totally unqualified people to serve as their puppets. The ones who cooperate with the backers of a said system have everlasting funds for their votes and their re-election. A true patriot within the masses stands little or no chance of ever being elected because it requires millions of dollars to achieve their goal. This fact is surely lacking in democratic principles.

This is a government of the people, by the people and for the people in ideology and by Declaration, but is it? No, not any more. But, no one person or party 'took' it away from us as one hears over the airwaves by some of the upstart movements. We gave it away with our demands, our lack of fervor and lack of factual political education. We've lost it with our errant interests and gullibility and with our votes, term after term after term. No politician is going to give it back! No party is going to give it back!

No one wants to give their entire career back? I can understand that. No representative should represent for decades! Even presidents and governors have term limits because they didn't have the chance to vote on the issue. Washington is a closed world on a foreign soil. The District of Columbia doesn't even have a representative. One spending an extended length of time there forgets the rest of us out here who pay their salaries, provide their health care and their retirement, buy their books, and support the companies that give their perks. Only the people can undo what has been done because they allowed it to happen.  

The least Congress can do is lead, follow or get the hell out of the way! Just for once, could you all work together for the good of the nation? Just for once, could you be brave and do the right thing regardless of how it may affect your polling? Could you all take a refresher course on the Constitution and see if all the mountains of paper you create known as a 'bill' really meets any kind of criteria? Those of you who have no integrity left, may be surprised at how good you can feel about yourself again. Those of you who have a shred left, should do all you can to keep it. It really is priceless. And who knows? A job well done may get you that career after all! The country would sure be a heck of a lot better off either way. Just for once, could you care about that?  

Susan Haley, Author /Editor

     **Susan Haley is the published author of three books, several articles on networking, an award-winning poet, and an independent copy editor and book reviewer for AME Marketing out of San Diego. She also contributes a column to "The Florida Writer" the official magazine of the Florida Writers Association, for which she is Facilitator for the Sarasota County Chapter. The audio version of her novel "Rainy Day People" was awarded runner-up Finalist in the 2008 Indie Excellence National Book Awards. She also contributes monthly columns to "Fox and Quill," a writer publication based in San Diego, and "The Infinite Writer" based in New Port Richey, Florida. A variety of editorials and excerpts of her work find their way to various E-zines, newsletters and local papers. Recently released "Amber Returns to Maine", is garnering five-star reviews.

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Member Comments

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Vikki Hall wrote Oct 7, 2010
    • Amen!

      I didn’t know you were also from factory rat district! No wonder I like your way of thinkingestatic

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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Susan Haley wrote Oct 7, 2010
    • Oh yeah, Vikki. :) I’m no stranger to the ol’ assembly line and the punch presses. Even worked in the Electro Motive Division of General Motors building transmissions for train engines! My dad put in his fifty years at GM and my husband worked for Chrysler in a stamping plant. My grandfather built tanks during WW2 then it went back to school busses at GM Truck and Coach. We made our escape while young enough to start another whole career in residential construction in Florida. I’d went to college at night and me and my two sons did our homework together. I look back now and it was all hardass work but seemed like the thing we just did back in 70’s and 80’s. No one really complained about much except Viet Nam.
      Now I’ve learned that being a writer is darn hard work, too! I suppose anything really worth having is hard work. I feel sorry for the younger generations because it seems no matter how hard they work, it’s impossible to get ahead.
      Hope things are good with you!

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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Suzann wrote Oct 7, 2010
    • Well said, Susan. I especially like “no one person or party ‘took’ it away from us as one hears over the airwaves by some of the upstart movements. We gave it away with our demands, our lack of fervor and lack of factual political education.”

      Thanks for your excellent letter.

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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Midnightmom wrote Oct 11, 2010
    • Great letter! How can we expect to have a politician in there that votes the ‘right’ way when what got them in there in the first place is the money given to them by certain corporations? The way I see it as long as that is how people run for political office there is never going to be a politician that is going to ignore or not feel indebted to the people/corporations that paid their way in.

      What did they do to get elected before there was the media everywhere you look or listen telling you what is going on in the world and how to think about it? What if the media was silenced for just one week; no more news about the politicians; no more news about the recession. Would we be in such a recession if we didn’t have the media to remind us day after day after day?

      What would happen if the media took it upon themselves to make up a fairy tale of a happy world; an abundant economy and just keep telling us that until we believed it? As long as they keep telling us how bad it is we are going to keep creating that reality. It seems that negativity is the hardest thing to overcome next to fear.

      I want to spend the next few weeks practicing affirmation of positive thinking and action until it becomes my new reality. Then I want to see if I can spread it around one person at a time until soon a new attitude is born around me.

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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Susan Haley wrote Oct 12, 2010
    • Excellent Response, midnight. What if is right. Silence may not change the facts but it sure might change some attitudes which in turn would change some facts. I agree that attitude is a huge part and parcel of how we deal with daily problems and stress. Still, too much of that and one is accused of wearing ‘rose colored glasses’ or living with their head buried in the sand.

      I wouldn’t even mind hearing news that might not be ‘elevating’ if it was presented in truth and not sensationalized. Most of us perform fairly well in crisis. It’s the total lack of relevancy and out of context clips and quotes that they go on and on and on and on about almost incessantly that drives me nuts. One almost has to laugh when they all begin preaching ‘family values’ and their own lives are a mess. They all thrive on gossip and rumor and downright falsehood about another. These are values? If so, I must be a real heathen! :)

      On the other hand, I’m in continual shock at the level of entertainment and TV fare that is supposed to be ‘funny’ or ‘family oriented‘. I must have a real warped sense of humor as I find most of it bordering disgusting, if not downright  repulsive. Even the commercials. Do advertisers assume that the intellect of the American public has reached such low levels?

      I’m coming to the conclusion that I was born way after my time. I’d have done better as a pioneer in the wilderness where values were a necessary part of survival. :)


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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Midnightmom wrote Oct 13, 2010
    • Speaking of entertainment, go check your sales ranking on Amazon for Rainy Day People! Your sales soared this week over last week!

      Congratulations, Su!

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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Susan Haley wrote Oct 14, 2010
    • Thanks for the heads up, midnight. It’s always a nice surprise to learn some books are selling. I confess I don’t watch my numbers on Amazon very often. It’s kind of like that watched pot that never boils. :) But, I am always grateful for any support my work garners. Thanks. Hope your presence there is a good sign.
      I’m considering doing a new column on the incredible rescue in Chili. Less the media spin and hype, of course.
      Somehow, things become all about them and their coverage. I doubt if that is why people world-wide were watching.

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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Midnightmom wrote Oct 14, 2010
    • I’m not surprised your book is selling. After all, it does have over 30 five-star ratings!  

      I really look forward to your next column. Isn’t it nice that there is something in the news to be happy about? I was watching CNN as they rescued the first 5 or so miners, and during the course of the coverage they mentioned a story about a white butterfly. I must have fell asleep (it was the middle of the night)and missed what they said about it. I hope you find the information about it because it sounded like nothing less than a miracle.

      I do appreciate having information to read like you offer here - valid, truthful, and compelling. . .

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