Friday, October 26, 2007

Open letter to the President and Congress of the United States

There are many things that need to be address about the way our country has been run over the last century. I would like to concentrate on the last few decades as this is the time that our current government officials are most responsible for.

Eminent domain. Come on guys, seriously. Where was the outcry from our government to protect the rights of the people when this Supreme Court decision was made? Both Republicans and Democrats have been trying to make changes and push for amendments for various issues but you guys can't take the time to stop government confiscation of private property to be given to other private entities? I hear of people wanting to change or abolish the second amendment to restrict the right to bear arms. I hear of people wanting to make an amendment to restrict same sex marriage but the most I heard from our legislative branch about eminent domain was a few congressmen voicing that they didn't agree with the court ruling. The subject seems to have died after that. No real action was taken to remedy this issue. If you want to make Constitutional amendments that actually protect our rights, make one to prevent the government from invoking eminent domain in order to take from one private entity to give to another. Eminent domain should be for the right of the public in order to improve public infrastructure, not private corporatism. I am all for capitalism and the free market but this is clearly an issue of corporatism which, in my view, is just as bad as socialism.

Illusion of security. There is so much that falls under this, it's ridiculous. Sure, we might have stronger security at air ports, though very invasive and at times a little over-board, but our borders are weak and we continue to waste tax dollars on failed or failing initiatives. A border fence without teeth? What is that about? I can see a fence put in place to mark territory letting people know that, yes, this is where our nations separate. Without some form of visible reinforcement, the fence is useless and a waste of money. We have military bases all over the world, most of which we really don't need to have in the areas that they are located. The whole point of our military is to protect the United States. Our allies are important but our main focus needs to be on our own defense. Don't get me wrong, immigration can be a wonderful thing but illegal immigration is a violation of our laws and shows a weakness in our defenses. We should move a large portion of our over-seas military back to the U.S. where they can do the job they are meant to do, protect our nation. The war on drugs is supposedly for "our protection" but in reality, it is a waste of time and tax money. You cannot possibly expect to stop drugs from coming into our country by concentrating on the supply side. Bring our DEA people back to the U.S., integrate the DEA with the INS and place more border crossing facilities where they need to be where we can better screen people coming into the U.S. and speed up the legal process for those wanting to come here for a better life. The only way to reduce or prevent drug use is through education on the demand side of the equation and not legal force. Americans are traditionally defiant when it comes to government telling them what they can or cannot do. We are more responsive to knowledge and understanding. The big mystery drug that is illegal is cannabis. Because the government does not allow open studies of the effects of this drug, because of its designation, we are missing out on something that has been shown, illegally due to outdated ideology, to help relieve pain of those suffering from arthritis, MS, MD and other debilitating diseases. Try to think about what you are doing and the reality of the "feel good" laws that continue to be put in place and enforced. Just because it makes you "feel good" to stop people from using a drug that, in the case of cannabis, actually helps them is no excuse and infringes on the peoples rights that the government is suppose to ensure. Stop trying to look as though you have altruistic motives. We, the people, can see through the smoke screen.

The "war" an terror and Iraq. I won't go into my personal views on Iraq to any real degree. We screwed up in the past and now we have to deal with it. Afghanistan is very much justified. We should be there and, probably, in greater force. We need to take a serious look at what we have done and what we plan to do in the future. Though it was the decision of terrorists to attack us, we cannot deny our contribution to the building of the mindset that helped create such people. I will not accept our past actions as an excuse for terrorism. There are more peaceful ways for the Muslim world to voice their grievances than to attack and kill innocent civilians. At the same time, we made a mess that we didn't take the time to clean up during the 70s, 80s and 90s. Our government had little problem with helping Afghanistan build military/Para-military forces during the Soviet invasion. Once the Soviets pulled out, so did we. If we really wanted to show our support for the Afghan people, we should have replaced the literature we provided on how to build IEDs and fight guerrilla style warfare with literature to help them learn how to rebuild their infrastructure. Call it short sighted or, if you like, call it "we didn't really care so much for the Afghan people as we just wanted to toss a pie in the face of the Soviets" or what ever. It's in the past and we have to deal with it now. Education and realistic concern for the people in that region of the world would serve us well for the future. I'm not saying we should pull our troops out of Afghanistan; not by far. We do still need to be there to take care of extremists that exist, now. I am saying we need to give young Muslims more hope for the future peace of their region and the world. Let's eradicate terrorism but do so in a responsible and logical way. Then leave the region and bring our troops back home where they belong.

Education. Fund education. We are ok with that. Funding is a good thing for education. Stop trying to legislate education! Education is the fundamental foundation of what has made this country great. Education helps to grow ourselves economically, scientifically and respectably. Leave education development to the trained and experienced professionals, the people that are in the schools/classrooms. Restructure the U.S. department of education to be more of a resource for educators rather than a legislating entity. Build a nation wide discussion forum for educators so they can more freely share ideas on how to be more effective in reaching our young people. Educational funding should not have stipulations. No child left behind, a joint Republican and Democrat catastrophe, needs to be repealed. It has weakened the teacher/student bond in the classrooms. It has created nothing more than a high stress environment where teachers are forced to shove information down students throats enough to pass a test. Having to teach in this way does nothing for information retention and the students have become less interested in what the teachers have to offer, knowledge. The type of environment that the No Child Left Behind program has created has disconnected the teachers from being able to reach students on a more personal level. There must be a certain degree of understanding and comfort between educators and students. Pushing them to concentrate on a test prevents that comfort zone from being created. The students get overloaded and lose interest and the teachers give up trying to bond with the students just to get the grade on a standardized test. Education is one thing that should not be overly standardized. Some basics, maybe. The students need to be able to read and write. The three Rs makes sense but not if it is going to be at the cost of future graduates. Every area of the country is different. Nation wide diversity in education allows more areas to be explored and having a national education discussion forum for educators will help to distribute ideas that work best. Please, stop trying to legislate education and just fund it. Let the education professionals deal with how best to perform their tasks. In other words, politicians have no place in the classroom. Teaching is more than just a job; it is a calling, a passion. Standardizing and stipulating funding weakens that passion and closes off the calling.

Referendum on tax dollar usage. The government gives money away like crazy. The tax payers get little or no say in where we provide aid around the world. It's our money and I feel strongly that we should have a say in where that money goes in regard to foreign aid. Tossing money at African nations doesn't seem to be doing much good. The money ends up in the hands of corrupt warlords and dictators rather than in places where it would do the most good for the people. There should be true help initiatives proposed to the people and let us decide where our money goes, especially when it is proposed to leave our country. Funding water purification facilities would be a good direction for our tax dollars to help grow African nations. Books for education and funding for schools and hospitals would be another. Just sending cash to those nations will do nothing but fund local warlords and greedy dictators. That does no one any good. It is a waste of time and money, not to mention human life. This is only one more example of how wasteful the government is and how much the government's lack of foresight causes bad decisions and does little or nothing to resolve the real issues.

I, along with many other Americans, am getting tired of the illusions of our government in trying to look like they are doing anything worth while. I'm getting tired of seeing elected officials only doing things to look like they are getting something done. People are looking at you guys way more closely than we have in the past. Overtly bad decisions from both main parties are starting to wake people up. Do something real or don't go for re-election. Stop wasting our tax dollars and try to be more productive. This whole deal with partisan politics is stupid. When all you do is "toe-the-party-line" you don't actually get anything done. These artificial compromises just to look like you are doing something aren't very helpful, either. Our government was designed for the freedom and growth of our people, please start acting like that idea still means something. I could go on and on about the obvious BS that goes on in our government but because I see it as obvious, I shouldn't have to address every individual issue. You are elected by the people and swear an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States (That means the spirit of the Constitution, as well). Please do your job properly or do not go for re-election. Let someone that is actually willing to show they care about what this nation was founded on have a chance to do what is right. Otherwise, you are only wasting our time and further wasting our tax dollars.

Thank you.