Thursday, October 24, 2019

An Open Letter to the United States Congress

                                                                                                                  [Image Credit: Edmon de Haro]

Dear Senators and Representatives:

Our Founder’s vision for the American Republic was a system of government where the People were to empower the government and where elected representatives’ preeminent duty was to work for the betterment of the country’s citizenry. 

Over the past many decades a slow deterioration of this ideal has occurred. 

Now, nearly every one of you is now beholden to the military/industrial/security/
banking/pharmaceutical complex and not to your constituents. There is no ambiguity - money has corrupted your institution. Individually and collectively you have lost your way.

You claim to represent us. You claim to be leaders. You claim to have answers. You claim that your party’s answers are better than theirs. 

You behave like children. Your infighting has led to the great divide that cripples our country. It is a travesty how you have abdicated your responsibilities (us). It is a travesty that we stand for it.

Interests groups dictate policy. There are 22 registered lobbyists for every member of your institution. You allow this disgusting influence to exist and to propagate. Meanwhile the nation's infrastructure crumbles, healthcare reforms languish, our children’s educations regress, crime escalates, mass shootings become commonplace, Social Security is at risk, the rich get richer, climate change exacerbates.

Yet you have low-cost health insurance for life. 

True leaders would give to others that which they give to themselves. Honorable leaders would serve others before themselves. 

Envisioning a different kind of leader I considered running for congress several times in my life. The first time was shortly after the 1987 stock market crash. That was when Ronald Reagan, the former Hollywood actor, had turned the republicans into the borrow and spend party while extolling the virtues of smaller government (one of the great bait and switches in American history). Reagan was first president to double the national debt - from $934 billion when he entered office to $2.698 trillion when he left.

I was mad as hell and wasn’t going to take it anymore. I had visions of standing at the lectern in the “people’s house” and railing against the improprieties. Better yet, I had fantasies of sending the majority of the 535 senators and representatives at the time to jail for fiscal mismanagement.

However the idea of becoming a politician was unfathomable. I also believed, and still do to this day, that change will not happen in Washington. As Albert Einstein said, “No problem can be solved from the same consciousness that created it.”

Still, at times, I wonder what if?

Now, our country is $22.914 trillion in debt. This is the number stated on the books. My guess is the truthful number is far greater. There will be consequences and my suspicion is such consequences are coming sooner rather than later. On some level I believe all of you know this is madness. Still, every year you pass budgets that further indebt us. 

One day the members of your chambers will call for lofty investigations into what went wrong with America’s finances. 

There is no need for such investigations. Action needs to be taken now.

1. I call on each of you to stop this fiscal insanity. Do not pass another budget that is not balanced. 
2. I call on each of you to cease all contact with all lobbyists. No exceptions.
3. I call on all of you to enact term limits upon yourselves. Without delay.

Sincerely,

Robert M. Hamburger

“Responsibility to something higher than my family, my country, my company, my success–responsibility to the order of being where all our actions are indelibly recorded and where and only where they will be properly judged. The interpreter or mediator between us and this higher authority is what is traditionally referred to as human conscience. If I subordinate my political behavior to this imperative, mediated to me by my conscience, I can't go far wrong.” 
--Vaclav Havel, playwright, philosopher, dissident and president of Czechoslovakia, February 1990 speech to the United States Congress