Here’s an article written in 1984 by Charlie Reese, a columnist for the Orlando Sentinel. It just landed in my inbox today. The internet was a lot slower in 1984.
One hundred senators, 435 congressmen, one president, and nine Supreme Court justices – 545 human beings out of 238 million- are directly, legally, morally and individually responsible for the domestic problems that plague this country.
. . .
Don’t you see now the con game that is played on the people by the politicians? Those 545 human beings spend much of their energy convincing you that what they did is not their fault. They cooperate in this common con regardless of party.
What separates a politician from a normal human being is an excessive amount of gall.
Here in El Paso we’ve got problems. The Children’s Hospital fiasco. City representatives commandeering city departments for their personal benefit. Police shooting a handcuffed prisoner in the sallyport of the County Jail, and jailers killing a war veteran in his cell.
Not to mention the four horsemen of the apocalypse: declining real private sector wages, a shrinking labor force, the highest percentage of people “fleeing” the community in the country, and the fifth highest residential property taxes in the nation.
Well, whose fault is it?
Eight City Representatives. One Mayor. Four County Commissioners. One County Judge. One District Attorney. One Sheriff.
These are our elected officials. They’re the ones that answer to us, the voters. All the rest of the bureaucracy answers to them.
Our elected officials would like to pretend that there’s nothing they can do about the injustices and inefficiencies of local government. Or they’d like to pretend It’s All Good. Mostly they’d like for us to not bother them while they go about the important business of governing.
To that I say Bullshit.
Even if our current predicaments are not their fault, they are their responsibility. It’s their responsibility to ensure that El Paso is a safe place for all of its citizens. It’s their responsibility to ensure that El Paso’s future is economically viable.
They’ve taken the attitude that if people don’t like the way El Paso is governed, then those people can leave. And guess what? People are leaving. Unfortunately, the people that have left haven’t taken their share of municipal debt with them. They’ve left it here to be shared among a dwindling number of property owners.
We’ve got real problems here. Problems that our elected officials have chosen to exacerbate or ignore.
If you’re not pissed off, you’re not paying attention. And our elected officials like that.