America is broken in two, in order to fix the schism we need to close the revolving door in Washington
If you’re like me, in 2008 you voted for Obama with wide eyed optimism and hope he could change America and the way Washington politics works. There is even the possibility that, like me, you pulled the lever again for Obama in 2012. You did it again despite the fact that congress has reduced our functioning government to little more than choreographed goat fornication since 2010. Now you sit there, reading blogs and news pieces hoping somehow sanity will prevail in 2014 and something will change.
It won’t change. Sorry to burst your bubble so early in the year but it’s time we faced facts. Our government is broken thanks to the influences of special interest groups that have infiltrated it at almost every level.
I don’t care if you are a Tea Party conservative or an Occupy liberal, we all know that the special interest groups are the virus that’s destroying our democracy. One of the biggest problems is the revolving door between corporations and our government’s regulatory agencies.
What we have is people working for a corporation, then going to work for the government to regulate that corporation, then going back to work for the exact same corporation they were just regulating. For example: Monsanto was required to submit a scientific report on rBGH to the FDA so the agency could determine the growth hormone’s safety. rBGH stands for Recombinant bovine growth hormone. It is a synthetic (man-made) hormone that is marketed to dairy farmers to increase milk production in cows.
Margaret Miller put the report together, and in 1989 shortly before she submitted the report, Miller left Monsanto to work for the FDA. What was her first job at the FDA? You guessed it: to determine whether or not to approve the report she wrote for Monsanto. The bottom line is that Monsanto approved its own report. Miller was assisted by another former Monsanto researcher, Susan Sechen to justify that approval.
Then the FDA tasked a previous lawyer for Monsanto, Michael Taylor, to make the decision as to whether or not rBGH-derived milk should be labeled. At the time, Michael Taylor was executive assistant to the Commissioner of the FDA. Amazingly, the former Monsanto Lawyer wrote the rBGH labeling guidelines that prohibit the dairy industry from stating that their products either contain or are free from rBGH.
Even worse, to keep rBGH-milk from being “stigmatized” in the marketplace, the FDA ruled that the labels of non-rBGH products must state that there is no difference between rBGH and the natural hormone. It has been used in the United States ever since. Its use is not permitted in the European Union, Canada, and other countries. Michael Taylor by the way, is now the Deputy Commissioner at the FDA under the Obama Administration.
Here’s a little food for thought that I stumbled upon while having a discussion with my ultra-conservative uncle. Remember when the Tea Party started? Do you remember what they were angry about? The base of their anger and organization was over corporate influence, government corruption and the misuse of our taxes. Of course, that was before the conservative media and the Koch brothers steered them toward the guano talking points they have today.
Do you remember what the Occupy movement was angry about? They ‘re angry about corporate influence, government corruption and the use of our taxes to bail out the very companies that nearly killed our economy.
Yet, somehow the Tea Party got portrayed as “Patriots” by the conservative media and as “Out of touch lunatics” by the liberal media. When it came to the Occupy movement, the rolls were completely reversed. Somehow these two groups that were started by angry citizens over basically the same issue ended up pitted against each other by the media and talking heads. I doubt this was an accident.
Electing a new President won’t change it. Electing a Republican or a Democrat to Congress won’t change the corruption either. We are electing the wrong people, but more importantly, we are electing them for the wrong reasons.
For the past forty years, we have been so busy arguing among ourselves about what color flowers to plant in America’s front yard that we have failed to notice the corporations stealing everything in the house.
The real issues aren’t the sanctity of marriage, abortion, Benghazi, evolution or creationism, science or faith. It isn’t where or where not to build a mosque, national defense spending, school shootings, the Second Amendment or voter registration. These are issues meant to keep us divided. The number one issue destroying our democracy is the control of our government by organizations that do not represent the people. Too bad we don’t notice it because we are too busy fighting among ourselves.
On my right is a simple Venn diagram illustrating my point. Now, let’s get down to the meat of this. Instead of Kvetching about the problem, I would like to propose a merger. Frankly speaking, I believe that the Occupy movement can combine with the Tea Party like peas and carrots, hugs and kisses, chocolate and peanut butter.
Okay, quit laughing and hear me out. We need a group, a bipartisan group that would agree to ignore all the distractions and focus on taking our country back. Honestly that phrase has been overused to the point of ridicule, but it’s exactly what America needs. We need to take our government back to the people.
Can I point to it on a map? No, but I can point to it in the Constitution and so can you. We need an organization, not a movement. We need to use the tools at our fingertips to unite Americans instead of dividing us. Believe it or not, there are great ideas on both sides of the aisle. We the people need something smart that will focus on the biggest issues.
The reason the Tea Party managed to affect such influence on our government is because they were and are organized. Granted, they were hijacked and they elected people to Congress that, for the most part, shouldn’t have been elected as a dog catcher. The reason the Occupy movement failed was because they were not and are not organized.
Yes, the Occupy protesters all shared a common core, but without organization to actually affect change they are nothing more than a distracting noise and air with no substance. They were passionate but not smart, relying on the very system that they were opposing to change itself because they went camping in a no-camping zone.
So, I am proposing we do something S.M.A.R.T. (Social Media’s American Reclamation Trust.)
SMART should encompass both conservatives and liberals. SMART should focus on holding both the government and corporations accountable just as individual citizens are held accountable. SMART should encourage online dialogue with administrators to keep the discussion from turning into a creative name calling competition.
SMART should address the issues that are important to all of us instead of select groups. For example, the environment. There is no reason we can’t both protect the environment and make liberal tree-hugging hippies like me happy, while simultaneously and safely providing for our energy needs. In this case, the government needs to transparently oversee the actions of the corporations and have the power to enforce regulations without the compromising influence of special interests.
SMART needs to organize against the liberal and conservative media by providing one-on-one information with its members that is factual, verifiable and sourced. Educating people on the facts and giving people real information with which to form an opinion. We used to call that journalism and news.
Most importantly, SMART needs to find political candidates that reflect the true values of Americans, whether they be rural or cosmopolitan. SMART needs to break down the barriers that are separating us by focusing on what unites us.
In your gut, you know what needs to be done regardless of your political ideology and it’s time we find a way to unite instead of fighting over things that will sort themselves out once the big problems are fixed. If we can extract the special interests and take measures that will help the American people, our economy and our world, everything else will fall into place.
We can be prosperous again with healthier foods, cleaner air, and low unemployment. If we get the special interests out of the way, we can reduce the deficit and bring the jobs back. There is so much we can do together by focusing on what we have in common instead of what divides us, we would be stupid if we didn’t at least try. Frankly speaking, I would rather be SMART than stupid.
Visit, like and share the Social Media’s American Reclamation Trust Facebook page here. Keep in mind it’s still new and under construction.