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If the citizens of the United States needed any more evidence that our national government is broken, we need look no further than this week's news that the they fiddled while Washington burned.so-called congressional supercommittee has failed to agree on deficit reduction and taxes. And,
This august (That's sarcasm, folks.) group of legislators, supported by millions of tax dollars for their salaries, their staffs’ salaries and all of the perquisites that go along with being members of Congress, could not reach an agreement to rein in spending and increase revenue. The Christian Science Monitor has a great summary of the situation here and the Washington Post has a graphic telling us more about this entire dirty dozen who are an insult to our democracy and besmirch the name of representative government by kicking the can down the road once more. They are a gutless group more interested in protecting themselves than serving the people. Texans have a representative on this 12-member congressional body that is a failure. He is Rep. Jeb Hensarling, a Republican representing District 5 in East Texas.
And we the people pay their salary.
Which brings us to another piece of congressional arrogance that brings far more credit to Texas than the discredit that Hensarling brings to our fair state.
In a video that has by now surely gone viral, Dr. Douglas Brinkley, a Rice University history professor, stands up to Alaska Republican Rep. Donald Young and, ultimately, to Natural Resources Committee Chairman Richard "Doc" Hastings. By the way, a review of a variety of sites attempting to track down credentials that justified the nickname of "Doc" Hastings resulted in no evidence for such an honorific title. Once again, we see the duplicity of a politician.
During the hearing, as several sources (here and here) report, Brinkley stood up to Young and Hastings despite both of their attempts to discount him. Hastings’ assertion that Brinkley destroyed the comity of Congress is the height of hypocrisy.
A website based in Houston chided Brinkley for interrupting, labeling Brinkley's behavior a major breach of protocol. However, somehow and some way, the citizenry needs to send a lesson to the plutocracy in Congress: "You are not better than we are. We pay your salaries. You work for us. You owe us the respect that one would give an employer."
As I conducted research for this commentary, I couldn't help but notice the resources poured into the construction of congressional websites for both individual members of Congress and, for example, the Natural Resources Committee. No wonder incumbency is so powerful.
The election next year is critical. Congress is rotting, filled with deadwood corrupted to the core. Honesty and integrity have become empty words. We the people are on the precipice of being no more than an empty slogan.
I pray that by next year every congressional district and Senate seat will offer voters a choice between an incumbent and challenger. I hope the challengers win and if we throw a few babies out with the bathwater in order to clean house, so be it.