We are only 16 years shy of 100 years since Herbert Hoover, in his 1928 campaign for president of the United States, promised “a car in every garage and a chicken in every pot” if he were elected.
The American voters of the day bought that line, and today there are still many Americans who don’t have a chicken, a pot, a car or a garage.
Fast-forward to this century. It has been almost 12 years since we were given the promise of “no child left behind.” Children are still being “left behind,” and federal regulations have only succeeded in putting undue pressure on the states to measure up to unrealistic and arbitrary standards.
In 2012, the challengers are promising us jobs. Mitt Romney and his running mate have promised 12 million new jobs in four years if they are elected to replace President Obama and Vice President Biden. Romney can’t create 250,000 new jobs every month for four years anymore than Hoover could put a chicken in every pot or President George W. Bush could guarantee that no child would be left behind.
And what about all of those reforms we have been promised? There have been promises of tax reform, Social Security reform, welfare reform, campaign finance reform, ethics reform, education reform, health care reform and many other reforms, over and over again. All we’ve accomplished is to dig ourselves into a deeper hole.
Then there is the mudslinging in every election. While “the Constitution,” “honesty” and “integrity” are in the vocabulary of our partisans, they are spoken only when they say their opponents are violating “the Constitution,” are not “honest,” or don’t have any “integrity.” All of them are right. None of them are “honest.” None have any “integrity.” And none use “the Constitution” as their guide.
Additionally, we need to look at our politicians’ selective memory. They can only remember the bad of which their opponents are guilty and remember only the very limited good things they think they have done. The hypothesis that one person can do no wrong and the opponent can do no right is, at best, flawed. That is one of the reasons a confused electorate is too often relegated to choosing between the lesser of two evils.
The examples of the evils inherent in our country’s current state of politics are numerous, but one example that might bring it home is by dividing politicians into two categories: those with abundance mentalities and those with scarcity mentalities. Those with abundance mentalities look at a freshly baked pie and say: “There is enough to go around for everybody.” Persons with scarcity mentalities look at the same pie and say: “I’m gonna get my piece of that pie before it’s all gone.”
Our politicians have scarcity mentalities. They are going to get all the money and power they can to the detriment of not only the other party, but also to the people they are elected to serve, and in violation of their oaths of office to support the Constitution.
The Constitution gives only a few discretionary powers to the federal government. All other powers are clearly defined and not subject to interpretation by any faction or party. This is evident in the fact the word “shall” is used almost 200 times in the Constitution, while the word “may” is used only about 30 times.
When the Republicans win, not only do the Democrats lose, but so does our country. And when the Democrats win, not only do the Republicans lose, but so does our country. And if you sympathize with either party, or any other faction whose philosophy is not based on the Constitution, you are not part of the solution – you are part of the problem.
Proof can be found in the Constitution itself. If you don’t have a copy of it, get one and read it; not as a partisan, but as a patriot. Then read it again. Each subsequent reading will take longer as you begin to realize that as a country we couldn’t be any further away than we are from its intent and mandates.
In the 1824 case of Gibbons vs. Ogden, U.S. Chief Justice John Marshall wrote: “As men whose intentions require no concealment generally employ the words which most directly and aptly express the ideas they intend to convey, the enlightened patriots who framed our constitution, and the people who adopted it, must be understood to have employed words in their natural sense, and to have intended what they have said.”
“Concealment” is necessary for the success of a candidate or a party in today’s political environment. All of them must and do “conceal” the truth about their intentions if they want to be elected. All of them “conceal” the truth about all they have done after being elected, especially if they want to be elected again. They “conceal” the truth about their opponents, and worst of all, they “conceal” the truth about the Constitution.
Neither the brothers Grimm nor Mother Goose can hold a candle to our modern brand of politicians. As they create and disseminate their fairy tales, they put all of the snake-oil salesmen that came before them to shame by convincing tens of millions of people every two years to buy into their bogus cures for what ails us.
(Ted Hood Jr., a Harlem resident, is author of the Shattered Symbols blog at shatteredsymbols.blog.com.)