It’s About Personal Responsibility

Posted on Mon 06/13/2011 by


By Frank Salvato

Weiner-mania: if the story weren’t so infuriating and sad – and such a damning commentary on our society – it would be laughable. Alas, here we stand at a moment in time when a sitting US congressman – a newly married, sitting US congressman – felt it was “okay” to take pictures of his erect penis and send them – unsolicited – to much younger females. And if that weren’t bad enough, we are led to believe that it is appropriate to have a “discussion” as to whether this idiot should resign or not. Of course he should resign! To believe otherwise is to engage in moral relativism and – contrary to what the Progressive Movement believes – that is a bad thing.

All one has to do to divine whether Congressman Weiner’s actions were as unacceptable as I feel they were, is to consider this singular point. If your daughter was to receive an unsolicited photograph of an erect penis from a man more than twice her age, a photo accompanied by salacious and suggestive comments, would that be acceptable to you? If you say yes then you have some terribly troubling issues that you should seek help with immediately.

The simple fact of the matter is that Mr. Weiner has both an ego and a low self-esteem problem. Obviously (and I am not a psycho-therapist, just a witness of the human condition), Mr. Weiner craves attention and validation. I find it ironic, yet disturbingly appropriate, that Mr. Weiner has chosen a profession that thrives on opinion polling. In the end, however, these personal foibles are owned by Mr. Weiner. But where they affect his personal life – and the lives of those related to him in both familial and professional manners, they also affect the lives of those who depend on Congress to do right by the electorate; the citizenry. To this end, We the People should also hold accountable those who elected Mr. Weiner to office.

Two moments in time lead me to insist that the country hold the voters of New York’s 9th District accountable for their vote to place Mr. Weiner in a position of power: the 17th Amendment and advancing federalism.

When federally elected officials – elected by the citizenry to the US House and elected by the State Legislatures to the US Senate (this, of course, pre- 17th Amendment) – championed what was best for their respective states rather than what was best for their championed political party or ideological special interest group, the people of the many states were served; their best interests with regard to what was best for them as they pursued their daily lives in their home states, was the business being executed by their representatives in Washington DC.

But then came the 17th Amendment, which moved the power of electing US Senators from the State Legislatures to the State citizenries. Prior to this, a US Senator was subject to recall by the State Legislatures. If the Senator was too inclined to cast his vote along political party lines, in favor of a special interest group or in any way that usurped the benefit of his State’s constituency, the State Legislatures could recall the Senator. In essence, prior to the enactment of the 17th Amendment, US Senators were legislatively charged ambassadors from their respective States to the Legislative Branch of the federal. Members of the US House were directly elected by the people (the People’s House) and US Senators represented the governments of the many States.

So, today, with the 17th Amendment in full force, we have a redundancy in the Legislative Branch that has led to moving our country toward a government system of Democracy, when, in fact – and for incredibly good reasons – our Framers and Founders established our country as a Constitutional Republic, one that uses a democratic electoral process, which, too, has a check and balance called the Electoral College.

But I digress…

Ever since the ability of the States to recall their US Senators was usurped by the 17th Amendment, and ever since the balance of federalism tipped to the federal government, thus encroaching upon the sovereign authority of the States as mandated by the 10th Amendment, people from one part of the country have become beholden to the votes of people from other parts of the country. Just as important, is that federally elected officials to Congress – especially US Senators – have become immune to any rebuke by their constituencies but for at the ballot box.

Now, normally I would stand in defense of a constituency being able to elect who they want to office; who they want to represent them in Washington, DC. But today I have deep concerns about the ability of the electorate to intelligently select those who are meant to serve them.

I am treading on shaky ground here so let me explain.

US Rep. Charlie Rangel, a Progressive from New York’s 15th District, was caught, red-handed, cheating on his federal income taxes and feeding gratuitously from the “public trough.” At the time of his offenses – offenses which were reluctantly confirmed by the US House Ethics Committee, for which he was censured – Mr. Rangel was the all-powerful chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee; the committee empowered to create and oversee the tax codes. One would think that after getting caught picking the pockets of not only his constituents, but the pockets of all of the taxpayers, that the voters of New York’s 15th Congressional District would have drummed the louse out on his rear-end. In fact, the absolute opposite is true. The electorate of New York’s 15th Congressional District re-elected Rangel and he still serves today.

So, we have someone who knowingly cheated the federal government for his own benefit, figuratively spitting in the face of the people who voted for him and these people, spit on the face and all, elected the man back to office; Guilty as charged, yet still in a seat of power.

What does this say about the voters of New York’s 15th Congressional District? Does it suggest that they don’t care about the law? Does it mean that they will sell the law out if it means empowering someone to federal office so that they can glean more for themselves at the expense of others? Does it mean they will vote for a criminal to cast votes that affect the whole of the country? Evidently so…either that or we all need to question the intelligence level of the people of New York’s 15th Congressional District, at least those who keep electing a tax cheat, a liar and a special interest slave to Congress.

But this gut-reaction, failure-to-do-due-diligence voting isn’t exclusive to New York’s 15th District, or Democrats and Progressives, although we are once again focusing on New York.

In the recent special election held to fill a vacant seat in New York’s 26th Congressional District, a perennial political candidate, Jack Davis – a Democrat who had run for Congress in New York’s 26th District several times before – declared himself a “TEA Party” candidate and successfully siphoned off enough votes from Republican candidate Jane Corwin to throw a traditionally Republican-held district to the Democrat, Kathy Hochul.

Indeed, Mr. Davis is a cad and, in fact, a political charlatan. He should be painted with a “Scarlet PD,” for “politically dishonest” (of course everyone but for a very few in Washington DC would have to wear such a brand). But was Mr. Davis’ lie all it took to throw the election to someone who would have traditionally not been elected on any given day? Of course not; it took a gullible and ignorantly complicit electorate to abdicate their obligation to vet the candidates, to know who they were voting for, to affect the results that transpired. In reality, if the people who voted for the “TEA Party” candidate in the New York 26 Congressional District’s special election had , in fact, done their due diligence, done their homework, even in the most cursory of ways, they would have come to realize that Mr. Davis was a liar masquerading as something that he was not in order to betray the electorate.

And now we have Mr. Weiner and the 9th Congressional District of New York.

Perhaps the voters of New York will be embarrassed enough to actually care about who they send to Congress in 2012. Maybe they won’t. The answer remains to be seen. But We the People, really should start pointing fingers at the people – the voters – who routinely send liars, thieves, cheats and sundry ne’er-do-wells to federally elected offices. Since the rest of the country is held hostage to the skullduggery executed at the hands (or in Mr. Weiner’s case “the crotch”) of these inveiglers, due to the fact that most federally elected officials care more about their political parties than they do their constituents and refuse to engage those from outside their legislative districts, it would seem the only way for the rest of the country to hold accountable those responsible for their existence in Washington DC.

As to those who say I am being too hard on New Yorkers and their elected officials, I admit, I am painting with a broad brush. My ire is aimed directly at those who elect the cretinous reprobates repeatedly sent to federal office from New York, and that does not, by any means, include the full contingent of New York’s congressional delegation. But it certainly does cover a majority of New York’s voters and federally elected officials – especially those from New York City. The ballot box doesn’t lie. To argue otherwise…fugetabouit! Contributing Editor Frank Salvato is the managing editor for The New Media Journal. He serves at the Executive Director of the Basics Project, a non-profit, non-partisan, 501(C)(3) research and education initiative.

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