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The Reluctant Polemicist

July 24, 2018
By Darren Fraser , Emmetsburg News

As a younger man, I cared nothing about politics. The first time I was eligible to vote, I voted Libertarian because I though it would make me look cool. I did not know what Libertarian meant.

It is only in recent years I have investigated what state and D.C. politicians do. When I understood, I became enraged.

I suspect Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer are under contractual obligation to utter the phrase "American people" at least three times when either is making an address. What do these men know about the American people? What do any members in Congress know about the American people?

In 2015, over half the members of Congress were millionaires. Many are millionaires many times over. These include the limousine liberals: Pelosi, Kennedy, Delaney, Feinstein. This is what I find so astonishing when President Trump's supporters say he is one of them (unless he is speaking to a Forbes audience). Trump is a billionaire. He may resonate with the common man because he has a way of speaking that appears down home and earnest. Make no mistake: millionaires and billionaires have nothing in common with you or me. They like to think they do. They don't.

I do not begrudge anyone his or her wealth. If they came to it through illicit means, that is another story. I object to rich politicians believing they know what is right for the rest of us. Worse, this avuncular attitude morphs into morality or value proclamations. It is not enough our politicians assume what they are doing is best for their constituents; they also believe it is the moral thing to do.

Dear reader, politics has nothing to do with values. It has nothing to do with morality. Politics is about taking tax dollars and applying those dollars judiciously, prudently and without bias to addressing the problems confronting this nation. Politicians are not spiritual leaders. They are politicians.

Dear reader, our government is not transparent. Transparency is in vogue these days because too many myopic politicians stumble into the national spotlight by doing truly stupid things. When Devin Nunes, R-CA 22nd District, co-chair of the House Intelligence Committee and a former Trump advisor, made a midnight Uber run to inform the president about developments in the Moscow probe, instead of first informing his committee colleagues, this breach of protocol raised eyebrows. The internet, social media and our interconnected society make it difficult for any politician pulling a Nunes to go unnoticed. This spotlight rarely penetrates the miasma enveloping how bills are passed.

The House's 2018 Farm Bill died because members of the Freedom Caucus voted against it and House Democrats simply refused to acknowledge it (not a single Democrat voted in favor). The Senate's farm bill passed with nary a second look. I suspect this is because no one could muster the enthusiasm to read it. At over 1000 pages, it taxes the patience of Job. There were 75 amendments submitted to the bill Senators Ernst and Grassley submitted five. What bill did we get? What is in it? How does it affect Iowa farmers? How does it affect Iowans on SNAP or TANF?

Dear reader, please print out the bill and the amendments and start reading. Before it is merged with the bill the House eventually passed and becomes a chimera. That is what I am doing. I would rather lose a kidney than read these documents, but this is the only way I can truly know what may become law, presumably on our behalf.

In closing, I say this. If you are happy with how our government is performing, great. If you are happy with President Trump and what he is doing regarding the economy, ag business, immigration, healthcare, taxes, education, the environment, tariffs, North Korea, Russia, Israel, Palestine, Syria, the Supreme Court or any other issue, fantastic.

We all need to become engaged citizens.



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