These days, ?do nothing? is a goal

Random thoughts about the political situation in D.C. and at home….

A week ago last Friday, we passed a small crowd of demonstrators standing above an interstate overpass near Salina. They were holding signs, encouraging people to honk if they agreed with them to push for impeachment of President Obama.

This was a clear example of our constitutional right to freedom of speech. Try that in Egypt or Syria, and it might just get people jailed, beaten up by thugs or killed.

The question is: Do we Ameri?cans appreciate this unique difference between another struggling country?s perception of democracy and ours? Considering how polarized we are in the political world these days, perhaps not enough.

Watching Washington Week on PBS last weekend, and listening to pundits discussing the pros and cons of a politician?s celebrity status, a troubling concept emerged. A politician?s popularity apparently rises in the Beltway when they are bashing their political opponent while doing nothing to solve the impasse on the Hill.

Their political and financial fortunes also appears to rise as well. According to this mix of conservative and liberal reporters, including New York Times conservative op-ed columnist David Brooks, a politician?s services at speaking engagements are in greater demand, paying top dollar.

The most popular Congression?al speakers are those who have not introduced any legislation for consideration, but have the loudest voice and opinion about what should be done.

Apparently, representatives in Congress who fit this description are following the prescribed behavior encouraged by the most radical elements of the Tea Party movement. To delay, impede through any means, or actually refrain from introducing meaningful legislation, thus halting the legislative process is preferable to allowing what they believe is ?bad legislation.?

They would rather allow the wheels of government to grind to a halt than to allow political opponents to come together and actually work towards meaningful compromise.

It is a dangerous precedent to believe that bringing democracy to the brink of chaos, that it can be saved.

I?ve used this rhetorical example before, but it?s worth repeating. To quote Foghorn Leghorn of Bugs Bunny fame, ?I say boy, speak up! I see yore gums a flappin? but nuttin?s a comin? out!?

Working as an advocate for farmers and agriculture, even the most conservative members among the grassroots based commodity organizations like the National Association of Wheat Growers find this behavior despicable.

Congressional representatives on both sides of the political aisle that are longtime allies of agriculture are deeply frustrated and are asking when the electorate will become fed up with this behavior.

Looking ahead, there is talk about extending the old farm bill once again. Six months ago, leaders in the Senate declared this would not be an option. Though I would not have believed those pundits, had they reported on the strategy to delay, impede and refrain from meaningful legislation at all costs back then, it is believable today.

There is also a big disconnect within the public?s mindset. On both sides of the aisle, people express increasing dislike for politicians who ?do nothing.? Yet the overall mindset is not motivated to do something about it.

Perhaps ?do nothing? is word-speak for not doing what each person thinks should be done, from their political perspective and not as a general statement of discontent.

Until that discontent rises to the point where people are angry that democracy has been held hostage by a form of political sabotage, the status quo is what will remain.

Until we realize that our form of democracy is better than what we see in Egypt and our desire is to preserve it for future generations, we will continue on the downward spiral toward tyranny.

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