In an earlier column, I proclaimed the death of shame. Next came a eulogy for poor bedridden logic. Then hypocrisy. Today, I want us all to take off our hats and mourn the passing of the term “public servant.” We can’t blame this one on Trump, of course. Politicians have been hiding behind that label and doing its exact opposite for a couple centuries now.

Our government needs to be towed into the shop. Unfortunately, we can’t just order replacement parts via Amazon. As of 2020, there were 11,524 registered lobbyists in Washington, D.C., and this figure is actually down from the 12,540 special interest licenses active in 2000. Our poor public servants have been outnumbered 20 to one. Is it any wonder that constituent phone calls are routed to a bottomless message center? Ever wonder why would-be congressional visitors are counseled to wait for the next election cycle’s town hall to have any contact with their political representatives?

Democratic Senators Manchin and Sinema are perfect examples of why Congress is suffocating from this lopsided teeter-totter. With their constituents back home polling around 70% in favor of President Biden’s infrastructure bill, it would seem like a no-brainer that they would be staunch supporters. Instead, they are the two votes blocking the bill’s passage under the reconciliation process. All 50 democratic senators and VP Harris need to vote “aye” for the much-needed improvement package to go into law. Instead, Manchin and Sinema are taking a play out of the Republican obstructionist playbook.

The DINO (Democrats in name only) senators’ reluctance is simple; Manchin is beholden to West Virginia’s Big Energy lobby, and Big Pharma bankrolled Sinema’s sojourn from Arizona to D.C. To level the playing field, we only need to go back a couple of years to where the ultimate obstructionist, Mitch McConnell, of Kentucky, scored mucho points during an election year by bringing a $200 million bounty to his beloved state. The fact that the wealth came in the form of an aluminum plant owned by Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, who was ostensibly under sanctions for meddling in U.S. affairs, must have been lost on the good voters of Kentucky.

Maybe “lost” is too kind a word, though. Let’s say someone at the local level decides to try and make a difference for his/her friends and neighbors by campaigning for public office. Few can afford to personally bankroll this foray into politics, so, as citizens, we are asked to vote for the best candidate, but the values for our candidate vetting are set by the donors. As a result, the best, and nearly only, characteristic worth noting is the candidate’s ability to raise money. Nowhere in the math can be found the needs of the normal people who elect these frauds.

Is it time to admit that the great American experiment has been a failure? We gave it a good shot, but it seems that this country has always been ruled by special interest groups hiding behind the curtain whispering into large microphones. I call it the “The Wizards of Oz meets the Dukes of Hazzard” syndrome. This isn’t news, of course, because we ripped down the curtains a long time ago. And, to be fair, not all those exposed wizards were carrying GOP membership cards. This is a bi-party trough that these guys and gals feed at.

Public service is a misnomer. A cursory look at state populations hints at one governmental engine seal that is worn out. California is home to over 30 million people. Fifty percent of our states have under 5 million residents, and seven of them have under 1 million. I doubt that the framers anticipated this imbalance. There were only 13 states, all clinging to the Atlantic seaboard, when the Constitution was ratified. The republic was small and Manifest Destiny and the cries of “Go west, young man” were yet to be screamed from the steps of Congress. Yet all those small states send senators like Manchin and Sinema to Washington, D.C.

But how so the poor brothers and scantily clad Daisy Duke from Hazzard County? Well, some of the states with the few inhabitants also rank highest on two other interesting charts; the states housing the most white supremacists and the states with the highest concentration of white citizens. Racism was never a sole trait of the southern states. Far from it. The same can be said of the pitiful ruler of Oz; there never was just a single wizard hiding behind that curtain. And you can bet that if a mob of so-called patriots attacked the inner sanctums of Oz they’d find that none of the large voices were even affiliated to a political party. Unless they renamed Wall Street Democrat or Republican over the weekend, and I just missed it.

Jerry Tuck is a retired Mokelumne Hill resident and an indie writer. Contact him olwhofan@aol.com or at his website, tucknrole.com

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