Monday, May 17, 2010

Sampling the Anger

I am getting ready to head home from the NRA Convention in Charlotte. Full disclosure: I do advertising/marketing for several companies in the industry, so I was working at the convention.

The convention gave me the opportunity to speak to literally thousands of people. Obviously, these were mostly conservative folks, but my experience over the years has been that these are fair minded people who are not blind ideologues like the partisan loons on Capitol Hill or the ever more shrill pundocracy.

What I found was a very strong anger at the Congress and the administration. Both parties almost without exception. Interestingly, there were very few members of Congress in attendance. Very few. Normally, you can't walk 10 feet without seeing one, but not this time. Wonder why? Because they know. They know the people are fed up and like the cowards that they are, they stayed away rather than face the people.

Needless to say, the Obama administration and Democratic majority in Congress drew the most anger. Not a surprise. What was a surprise was the level of anger at the Republicans as well. These folks want a whole new Congress. One that is responsive and listens. One that is not beholden to the fat cat lobbyists and money people.

They are tired of the partisan bickering and game playing on our dime. Quoting one person, "I wish I could just up and fire the lot of them. They are bad employees." Well, that pretty much summed it up neatly. Congress is bad employees getting worse.

The good folks that I spoke to all shared the belief that Congress has little or no interest in the public good. I heard anger at Democrats for ramming legislation through and anger at the Republicans for refusing to even try to negotiate fairly.

Most of all, I heard anger at the endless spending and endless game playing. The endless posturing and primping. Serious anger at the bailouts. A lot of the people I spoke to are small businesses like myself. They (like me) are livid at the use of our hard earned dollars to help businesses that simply ran themselves into the ground. The sense of entitlement by Congress to send tax dollars to banks, auto companies, Wall Street and now Europe.

To them and me it seems like we the taxpayers are last on the list. There was not a lot of the name calling. Things like socialism and such were not the words used. Overall the sentiment was pretty common. Our government has put us aside to tend to their pals in limos. Congress has pretty much forgotten who sent them there. The parties are all about the parties and not the people or even a political philosophy.

While it was good to hear that my opinion is widely shared, it was also dismaying to hear this level of anger and antipathy. If I was in Congress right now, I would start packing up my desk. The real people - the ones that vote and care about America - are in the mood to toss every incumbent out and start fresh.

I heard over and over that fresh faces in Congress would at least listen to those that sent them. I heard that multiple decades in Congress is too long and not good for anyone. I heard over and over a disdain for the now standard "permanent campaign."

But what I heard loudest and most was that we just want them to stop playing their sad little game with our country and get back to the basics of the Constitution and their oath of office. We want them to stop posturing for the next election and start legislating for the good of all the people. I heard a lack of faith in the current Congress' ability to do that. I heard the desire for a fresh batch.

Come November, the most endangered species (figuratively!) will be incumbents on the ballot. They have failed us over and over and perhaps for the last time. Come November, we take America back from the fat cats, lobbyists and corrupt Congress. Come November, we use the ballot to regain control of our nation. The game ends November 2, 2010. The people, acting as the ultimate umpires, will simply toss the bums out.

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