What’s My Job?

The author Douglas Adam’s once said, and I am paraphrasing, that in order to understand motivations, you have to ask yourself what business someone is really in. The example he used was Xerox, and how people tend to mistakenly presume that they are in the business of making and selling copiers. They are in fact in the business of selling toner cartridges. The copiers are just there to create the commodity market. The example I’ve been using for years is insurance companies. People are always assuming that they are in the market of providing healthcare, when they’re really investment companies making a percentage off of the premiums and fees, they take in.

I can’t help but look at the current political situation and not ask myself a similar question. What business are the various representatives, senators, and other elected officials actually in. We want desperately to believe that they are in the business of governing our country in the best interests of its citizens. Unfortunately, that’s far from the truth. The business of all these political officials are in is the business of getting re-elected. I mean how else can you explain what’s been going on… well… for as long as I can remember.  But, how about we stick to current events.

There’s always talk when you get into the function of our government as to the intentions of the founding fathers.  And, in all honesty, that’s exactly what I’m going to do here too, because it’s actually important.  The genius statesmen were attempting to create a government that served its people, considering that they had just fought a war to break away from a government who saw the people as there to service them.  Yes, these men were flawed.  They still owned slaves and believed in class distinctions.  However, they were doing their best to not create a ruling class. Jump ahead now to today, and ask yourself, “Do we have a ruling class now?” Our curent president has been an elected official for longer than I’ve been alive.  I think we do!

Now I’m not going to sit here and suggest that the founding fathers weren’t political schemers.  I mean look at Jefferson.  But they did set up the government with the idea of serving in it being just that, a term of service.  The rule of a president only serving 2 terms, wasn’t even an official rule till after WWII.  Washington himself started that tradition to ensure that the presidency didn’t become a lifelong appointment.  Being a member of the government was something they expected great men (and now women of course) to do for a period, in service to the country.  It was never designed to be a career.

So, now we have career politicians.  People who have lived their whole lives not as productive members of our society, but instead attempting to tell us as a society how we are supposed to live, act, and even now speak, and what we can own.  I can’t speak for everyone out there.  I know there are an increasing number of people who are in favor of the government taking the responsibility of making sure that we all live productive little cookie cutter lives.  I will admit that I personally find that idea terrifying.  To quote the great sage and poet Larry the Cable Guy, “What the hell is this, Russia?”

This is what over the decades we have done to ourselves.  We have created a ruling class of career politicians, who’s job we think is to make our lives better but has become simply getting reelected.  If you need proof of such, look at the legislation that was started even before the ink was dry on the new name plates in congress. It’s an entire package of rules and regulations designed purely to make sure that those who have been elected can and will be reelected.  Kind of interesting considering that there are no term limits for members of congress.

If we go back to those founding fathers and their intentions, they were also attempting to limit the effect that the government would be able to have on our day to day lives. It’s what they called life, liberty, and the pursuit of property.  Our government was not supposed to impede any of that without very specific reasons.  They even created this quaint little document called The Constitution and amended it with a Bill of Rights to iron all that out.  But, does it still mean anything at all? It’s increasingly ignored as the career politicians nip away at it little by little.  You can also watch them try and make you feel good about it, pointing out that those who wrote it were people of their time and followed the societal norms of that time, even though those norms would be unacceptable today.  Something which those men knew, as they created a mechanism of changing and continuing to amend the constitution.  But, their hope and expectation was that it would be used to guarantee our freedoms as times changed, not to turn around and hinder them.

So, what do we do? What do we do when or ruling class choses to set precedent allowing them to ignore the Judiciary? What do we do when an actual sitting member of congress says, “The constitution isn’t everything”?  What do we do when violence from one group is called peaceful, while protest from another is called insurrection?  At the moment it seems like we just stand on our side of the ever-widening dividing line and scream at each other.

As this latest ramble and rant peters out, I’ll close with something my daughter recently quoted back at me.  “Dad, as you’ve always said. There’s always assholes.”

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