@ Michael [LONG RANT ALERT, but not targeted at Michael]
"This is clearly a reference to the presidency, but your entire rant was about congress - a body controlled by the opposite party of the president. While I share your disdain for the do-nothing legislature we've had of late, I find the reference linking the presidency tenuous at best."
When the President refuses to sign legislation, it's called a veto. Like it or not, the President has to approve the laws (except in an override situation), and thus is part of the legislative process. And for the first six years of the Bush-2 administration, Republicans were in control of the Congress. Which is why Democrats were voted into office in 2006, to bring the mismanagement to a screeching halt. Everybody knew nothing would get done from 2006 to 2008...that was the whole point. They knew they couldn't get rid of all the Republicans at once, so they did what they could: they stopped almost all legislation from going through. At least they stopped the Republicans from doing any more stupid unilateral actions. In two months, the public will finish the job, Democrats will be in power again, and things will finally turn away from the brink, albeit at a snail's pace.
"Fire them all and start over. It'll never happen though, because it's someone else's job to be active in government and politics, not the citizens'."
The problem is that Bush woke up America with his stupidity. He crushed American sensibilities and laughed in the public's face. Even Cheney said it: "So?" I cannot remember a more corrupt and indifferent administration in my entire life (and I won't even mention Congress). Bush and his cronies showed the American public that they really *don't* have a say in how things work. You see, once you elect a President, he can go apeshit, and no one can stop him if they aren't forced to by law. Where's the law against negligent homicide where Bush started a war on false pretexts and got thousands of our soldiers and tens if not hundreds of thousands of Iraqis killed? [I won't go into the Darfur situation.] And Bush thinks everything's *OK*. Call me naive for not having the President's eyes-only intel info at hand, but the fact that he refuses to recognize his mistakes makes him a narcissist in my book, and that qualifies him (and Cheney for the same reason) for being removed from office on account of being mentally unstable, as soon as possible (forget impeachment).
My whole point in a nutshell is: If the President can break our country's laws with impunity because the Congress and the Supreme Court backs him up, then where's the independent authority that can stop a fully united nuthouse full of Red vs. Blue squabbling children led by a hear-no-see-no-speak-no-evil moron with delusions of colonialism? How can we, the people, stop them?
Am I the only adult left who sees this problem? This is how our democracy splits at the seams and dies in a civil war, when our government fails to do the will of its people, in the name of pure greed. Does Bush Sr. or any other member of Bush's family own any oil stock? That would be war-profiteering in the truest sense of the word, the self-sustaining military-industrial complex spoken of so long ago. It's too bad Congress writes laws with loopholes for family members holding your wallet while you're in office, otherwise our government would be a lot less corrupt.
There's no oversight, because the people depend on their Congressmen to protect them from corrupt Congressmen - the fox guarding the henhouse, as they say. When it becomes easier to go with the flow of Congressional and Presidential insanity than to do their jobs, our government has ended, and a dictatorship just like China's has begun. I don't want to believe that, but that's the way it looks. That's why Obama will win in November, because nobody else wants to believe it either. And even if we really are controlled by the corporations and the politicians are all bought, at least if Obama gets in, the illusion of democracy, that the system works for the public good, will be safely back in place, and the people will once again accept the Matrix. If not, if they are given another 4 years of Bush (via McCain) where the economy will tank, or even if the economy tanks under Obama, people will go homeless, not be able to afford food, start stealing, start food riots, march on the state capitals and overthrow their state governments, then try to secede so they can get some other government to run their new country better (starting the next American Civil War, which will be nuclear). Sympathizers will follow suit, and America will die in flames.
All because of unchecked greed - the parasite killing its host. If the leaders of our country cannot do the right thing, then the people will eventually take up the arms they fought for over 225 years to keep, and they will demand justice where there is none left to give. Then they will take it by force, and the American Dream of peaceful cooperation for the good of all will be permanently dead, and the terrorists (the corrupt politicians in power) will have won at last. They will be able to flee to other countries with their ill-gotten loot and set up house like the Nazis, while we have no choice but to live in a bombed-out, radioactive wasteland.
This is what we have woken up to. We are not safe in our own country anymore. First, 9-11, yes. But then Bush, Cheney, the Republican majority of 2000-2006, Enron's cooking the books, Bethlehem Steel's cutting off of pensions for its retirees, Worldcom's crash, Verizon's cooperation in warrentless wiretapping, massive outsourcing of manufacturing and high-tech jobs (Intel et al), massive illegal immigration and non-enforcement of immigration laws, and on and on and on. We have no way of judging whether or not any of our leaders is competent enough to work for the public good and not (exclusively) their own self-interests.
We now know for a fact that we can't trust those who govern us, and we as a people just realized that we have no recourse when things go completely wrong. The terrorists have already won, because we now fear our own leaders and our government, both of whom we used to trust (or at least, I did at some level). And those terrorists are the Republican administration and the Republican Party, who facilitated it all through their blatant stupidity, and went with the flow even after they realized their mistake. They shattered the illusion of safety. "Outside of his own kingdom, the hunter becomes the hunted" - not anymore, and never again. "Never again." The last time I heard that phrase was out of the mouth of an Auschwitz survivor I knew - I never understood just what that meant to him until recently.
This stupidity leaves us with only one party, one that we know only as *not* being Republican, rather than known as being in any way trustworthy. Third parties don't count, because they receive no press, and we don't know who they are or what they did in the past. One party is *not* a choice, and I'm just as frightened of the Democratic majority that will be here in 2009 as I am of the Republicans still in power. But I have no choice. No choice at all. Only what is happening now, which is intolerable, and what may be, with a grain (or shaker) of hope. As I said, no choice at all.
They have forced me to wake up from my sleep of imagined safety and justice. To paraphrase Harlan Ellison, I have no eyelids, and I must sleep.
With regard to why the news media allows celebrities to have interviews about politics, but not the common person on the street corner (who generally are not insulated from the rest of the world like celebrities are), Mr. Ellison's original title also applies: I have no mouth, and I must scream.
Insert your favorite Douglas Adams/Doctor Who/etc. "stared-into-the-Vortex-for-a-split-second" analogy here. I have awoke to find that I am totally insignificant, where I once thought I had inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I was wrong. But unlike those characters in the analogy, I have nowhere to run away to, and NASA has dropped the ball for getting us into space. I am stuck here until we can get off this rock, watching America slide toward its fall, like ancient Rome. It sickens me, but I can't turn away. I am forced to watch it all. The only thing keeping America alive is fear of the gun, and I'm fervently praying to any and all deities that may exist that we don't have to use them, that our government will wake up and realize who they work for. If America falls, no country in the world will ever stand up for another again. They'll be too busy building fortresses and guns to protect themselves. Then war will come, and the last Dark Age will fall on humanity. The US may not be the shiniest city on the hill, but we're the only one left that cares more about people than wealth. When that changes, it's over. For everyone. Mark my words.