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Don't Rush Me


The politics of politicking.


Or why Americans hate their politicians



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August 06, 2014 - Well, I reckon we Americans will get a few moments respite from the most shallow of all advertising. No, it's not the end of sweeps week on television, so the self-promoting TV spots about all the "awesome" shows have not ended.

I'm going on about political advertising. This past Tuesday was the 2014 Primary Election. I voted (was the second person in my precinct to cast said ballot). So, for a few weeks we can rest while the political parties gear up for November's General Election trash throwing contest.

There will be more low-down scallywagging on our public "airwaves" than there was two years ago and less than in another two years. Can I ask a serious question? (Doesn't matter, I am gonna ask it anyway, so I needn't asked permission.) Does anybody really believe any of those political attack ads seen on TV?

And, if you do, why? Is it just a political party affiliation thing? Do you have to, lock-stock-and-barrel believe "your" guy/gal? I think one half of Americans are a special kind of stupid. One half of Americans are naive and one more half just don't care (that would be the half who are here undocumented and illegally).

There used to be a time when we had this prevailing thought which went something like this: Truth In Advertising. Three little words and folks believed if they found some marketeer advertising falsely, they had some sort of claim. It kept folks, at least in small markets, honest when they advertised their goods and services.

I don't know if that is really how it worked, but John Q. Public thought it did and most small, private businesses accepted they couldn't make untrue claims. If you advertised your ointment could cure pimples, it better cure pimples.

So, back to my previous question: Does anybody really believe any of those political attack ads seen on TV? Or do we just tune out and think, here's another reason to hate politicians and the political process; the Ruling Class of Elites have their rules, and the rest of us sheep have ours?

Theordoric Meyer, of the on-line journalism publication, ProPublica.org wrote in 2013, "When CBS News reported in 2011 that members of Congress weren't prohibited from insider trading, Congress moved swiftly. President Obama signed a law banning it within six months of the broadcast.

"But Congress is still exempt from portions of a number of federal laws, including provisions that protect workers in the private sector but don't apply to the legislative branch's approximately 30,000 employees."

Then he broke it down and cited some laws where Congress has exempted itself:

Whistleblower Protections

Subpoenas for Health and Safety Probes

Keeping Workplace Records

Prosecution for Retaliating Against Employees

Posting Notices of Workers' Rights

Anti-Discrimination and Anti-Retaliation Training

The Freedom of Information Act

He added, "In addition to sparing itself from complying with measures it has made mandatory for others, Congress is violating of some of the laws that do apply to it, according to a recent report from the Office of Compliance. (The pint-sized agency, created by Congress in 1995, is responsible for enforcing a number of workplace-rights laws in the legislative branch.) The sidewalks surrounding the three House office buildings, the report noted, don't comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Neither do the restrooms in the House and Senate office buildings and the Library of Congress' James Madison Building."

* * *

Gerald Skoning, a retired labor attorney from Chicago wrote a piece for the Wall Street Journal. In it, he actually called for some action. Wrote he, "America shouldn't need to amend the Constitution to ensure that elected leaders comply with the laws of the land. But given the sorry history of congressional leadership by exemption rather than by example, a 28th Amendment doing precisely that makes sense."

* * *

Which brings me to this: Don't the leaders of this country understand we not only do not like them, but we are getting to a point where we hate them? And, I hate using the word "hate" because it's awful darned strong. Maybe the elites were always this way. Maybe there was a time when we all were just naive and thought leaders would lead. Maybe now we're just more cynical. Here's an interesting thought: Is that how things got rolling in the 1770s?

Your thoughts? E-mail, Don@ShermanPublications.org

Don is Assistant Publisher for Sherman Publications, Inc. He has worked for the company since 1985. He has won numerous awards for column, editorial and feature writing as well as for photography. He has two, sons Shamus and Sean and resides in the area. To read archived copies of his columns, click on his name, just under his picture up top . . . He can be e-mailed at: don@dontrushmedon.com
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