A New York Times Poll released today shows that Congress has the trust of nine percent of us and the sad truth is that there's no news in that.
Congress has been run in a Bananna Republic-like fashion for years and is roaring downward in a spiral that has taken our jobs, our economy, our self-respect and our belief that our form of government--which long ago stopped even pretending to be a democracy. Our system, as my mother might have suggested, is in dire need of an enema.
While Barack Obama's numbers are heading toward dizzying lows, Congress has lapped him and the Republican Party's ratings are even more dismal. While 56 percent of Americans polled think Obama has no clear or workable jobs plan, 70 percent give the Repubs no chance and that leaves all of us without an alternative.
A good friend of mine, a woman of considerable intelligence, told me the other day that she was going to sit out the next national election. "I just don't have the stomach to vote for somebody who can't do anything in favor of somebody who won't," she said, putting the whole thing in a nutshell.
I finally broke down the other night and watched the shocking and saddening movie "Inside Job," the documentary about the Wall Street mess. It is as good a documentary as I've ever seen on any topic (far, far better than Michael Moore's heavy-handed indictments), but I came away with the sense of deep despair that we have reached this point of helplessness against the one percent power structure. We're watching people blatantly spit in the eye of government regulation (and the American people), demand that government bail it out when its excesses bring it down, then use the money from the bailout to--first and formost--pay itself bonuses in gaudy amounts that most of us can't even imagine.
The blame here is systemic, not party. Bill Clinton deserves as much blame for Wall Street as does either George Bush or Ronald Reagan (who got it all started). Obama is fast approaching high levels of culpability by installing Clinton's financial people--all Wall Street insiders--to the positions of influence in this. The whole cartel of Wall Street investors and bankers is inbred and operates outside party politics, though the power brokers play politicians like air hockey.
Our own Congressional representatives--Goodlatte, Griffith, Hurt, etc.--are smack in the middle of the game, playing fast and loose with a system that is--right now--as delicate and ready to collapse as it has been at any time since 1929. The regulation of Wall Street that is so sorely needed has been laughed off as an unnecessary burden on these earnest people who only want what's best for America. That's bullshit at the highest levels of the concept and it is criminal, but there's nobody who can or will prosecute and even if there were, the Republican Supreme Court would overturn the result.
Dysfunctional? Yes, that's the word. Do we recognize it? Sure, we do. Are we going to do anything about it? I see no evidence of that.