Gloucester Daily Times
---- — To the editor:
A long time ago, my friend in Moscow was dating the daughter of a high-ranking government official.
One day she decided to introduce him to her parents and he was invited for dinner. He put on his best clothes, bought a torte and went. The dinner was a success, but when going to the toilet he passed the kitchen and saw the maid stuffing his torte into the garbage chute.
“What are you doing?”, he screamed. “Don’t worry”, said the maid, “We have another one. We don’t eat anything from the city.”
That was a mode of life for the Soviet apparatchiks. They created a special cocoon for themselves inside the USSR: special food production and supply, segregated resorts and dachas, exclusive medical system and unique – only for them – everything.
The USSR is gone but the habits of the powerful are alive and spreading. I could care less about Russia but here, in my beloved adopted country, which proclaims “government by the people” the same poisonous trend takes hold.
Our lawmakers are excluded from Obamacare, which they force on us without even reading its 2,000-plus pages. And why bother? Their health care system is not affected. But beyond special health care they have other privileges. Let me list some others:
Insider trading. Federal lawmakers are exempt from rules of the Security and Exchange Commission.
Conflict-of-interest rules do not apply to legislators.
Freedom of Information Act is also not applicable to them. Actually, their documents are as inaccessible as secret documents of the CIA. However, some of the CIA documents become declassified in time and congressional records never do.
Whistleblower laws are not applicable to Congress.
It is impossible to catalog all the perks and misdeeds of our Congressmen in this short opinion.
For those of you who would like to know more, I recommend a thoroughly researched book by Peter Schweizer, titled “Throw Them All Out.”
I hope this book will prompt you to action if you are concerned about the future of our country. From this book you learn that there is no basic difference between legislators on both sides of the aisle.
Corruption, crony capitalism, graft and blatant self-serving are blossoming on both sides. Lawmakers are so absorbed with their own needs they pay less and less attention to the problems of the country.
That’s why only 10 percent of the population has faith in them. It is obvious that our Congress is dysfunctional. Nothing short of a groundswell of public action will be able to return it to a functioning body.
According to Professor Alexander Tyler (1887) democracies progress through the following stages: from bondage to spiritual, faith, courage, abundance, complacency, apathy, dependence — to bondage.
I am afraid we are in between Complacency and Apathy. In this state of affairs a tremendous effort is needed to shake citizens from their slumber and prompt them to action. Is it possible?
Norwood Heights, Gloucester