|Corruption in office is nothing new, ask the Romans|
You know, I’m retired now and the last thing I need is some BS that comes with naming names about things. But, in New Jersey, “Pay for Play,” quid pro quo, whatever you want to call it, is an everyday part of life for our elected and appointed folks. And, there are basically very, very few exceptions.
Ironically, the exceptions to that rule are generally wealthy candidates who do not need to make anyone else’s money or gain their living off politics. So, if they become candidates and do not win it is not a matter of life or death with them financially. But, for your economically challenged candidates or young people starting out -- well, they have to make their money somewhere and if they play it by the rules it sure won’t be in government. So, they have to supplement their incomes. And, how do they do it? They have influence in elected office and use that to make their dime. It’s done every day -- it’s done in your town and probably by office holders you think are ‘above reproach’ well, they’re not.
Sure, Democrats and Republicans spout promises and such. But, Democrat, Republican, Green or Independent, a candidate is not truly running for the good of the people unless they have already made their fortune somewhere else. If they have, then they can take ideology seriously because they don’t need to produce a buck from using their influence; it's as simple and as hard as that. I can’t tell you how many broke-ass, broke-down sons of guns I have seen sworn-in without a dime in their pocket yet -- lo’ and behold three or four years later -- they are someone’s vice president of something or they had become someone’s “contractor” for whatever. And, why? Yeah, they sold out. They sold you out, Mr. and Mrs. America.
However, very often, Americans think they know their elected officials whether they are local, county, state or national. You feel this because of the campaigning and the literature, television commercials, Internet ads...you get it. When they make public appearances, they’re all smiles and they make sure to hang out at local spots once every couple of months. Your office holder talks lofty ideals and talks about the horror of the other party, but 'they'll keep you safe from all that.' Ordinary people start feeling important because they are under the impression they are friends with the lawmaker. And, you’re getting played for suckers. Politicians are actors playing on a stage, you’re the audience and Corporate America is the producer of the show.
I have been in the heads of a lot of politicians: I ran press operations for quite a few candidates, Republican and Democrat alike. Frequently, I have seen freshmen candidates enter the process as determined, idealistic people only to see them become the same low-life scum as all the rest of them in the span of one short term. Were there exceptions? A few, but just a few.
Oh, and if Conservatives think Republicans are any better than Democrats, they’re nuts. In fact, in my experience, Republicans are at least as greedy as Democrats but often much more. No one is actually pure and chaste and all that crap. They womanize (frequently with their staff); make backroom deals to feather their own nest, help idiot relatives with finding work, make sure their buddies get nice government contracts and that their campaign contributors or employers get treated real nice -- courtesy of you and me. Oh, once in a while they work--sorta. And, when they work, ladies and gentlemen, they sure as hell don’t work hard.
Politicians hide beneath a thin veneer of respectability and depend on you buying their crap, which you do. After scandals are uncovered, in the face of all common sense and logic, you will ‘stand by your official’ because you’re a sap. In politics, largely speaking, if you’re accused of something by a legitimate newspaper, there has been a lot of good research into it. Yeah, and I’m not talking about Glenn Beck or Sean Hannity or any of that Fox nonsense. I mean real publications like the Star-Ledger, New York Times, Daily News, etc.
“The Media” isn’t out to get anyone, that is the war cry of the guilty. When the United States was founded the Press was granted a peculiar and necessary role in civic affairs in this country; they are watchdogs who have a fundamentally adversarial relationship to government and police institutions. It is their job to be an informal check or safeguard against tyranny. Of course, recently, anyone has been able to call themselves a journalist, from Entertainment Tonight to AOL’s PATCH.com. Real journalism takes place in serious institutions and not the Huffington Post or its satellites. If I want to find out about who’s had a nose job recently, I will check the Huffington Post. If I want news, I’ll check the Daily News. Internet news generally sucks, with notable exceptions, and that is a bad thing.
Real newspapers were (and to some extent still are) the only thing between you and total and complete ignorance about what is happening in the halls of power in your town and in the White House. When politicians get caught with their hands in the metaphoric cookie jar the first thing they say is “...there goes the Liberal Media again.” BS. Your buddy the ‘state legislator’ got caught red-handed at something and you’re dumb enough to buy into his ‘the press are out to get me...’ argument. So, next election, you put his sign on your lawn and come home early to vote for him. Please, let me find a bucket because I can lose lunch over that nonsense.
I don’t vote anymore, unless the AARP puts something out and then I vote however they say. Why? Because I am old and my interests are basically aligned with their mission. I don’t care about anything else because it’s all crooked...down to the core. AARP aren't 'good guys' orwhatever -- they just happen to advocate for the things I need.
In Jersey, like in any number of pissant towns, counties and states, there are all kinds of corrupt crap happening all the time. Only, in Jersey and a few other places, it’s shoved right into the voters’ faces and keeps happening because the electorate here is as dumb as a bag of hammers and apparently doesn’t mind. Jersey voters are the blindest people who ever had the furniture rearranged on them, but they love bumping into furniture, I guess.
I’m aware of every kind of vile sin by serving politicians, from bold-faced corruption, to racketeering, graft, pay-for-play, drunk driving, extortion, eluding the police, interfering with a police officer doing their duty, adultery, rape, assault, tax evasion, blackmail, drug and alcohol abuse, forgery, misusing government property, and targeting public and private enemies with official actions, sanctions and police intervention. If you think cops aren't the muscle behind politicians that appoint their bosses and negotiate their contracts, you'd be wrong again.
And, there are things I have heard from reliable people that are much worse done by some of these bastards. I have seen Democrats do it, and Republicans (a whole lot of them). These were not isolated incidents, Mr. and Mrs. America -- this was just the way business is done. It’s sickening and filthy and I actually helped some of those people get re-elected, sometimes having first-hand knowledge of the level of their depravity because I was paid and needed to support my house. And, it stained my soul black for doing it. Sadly, most of those scumbags are still in office as I write this.
And, these are the exact same people you are mewling over with the signs and ridiculous public love. These are “your buddies” that know you by your first name. Hey, whatever.
If you want to really get something done in government, don’t contact your elected official. Find the law or architectural firm that supported that office-holder’s campaign with the biggest donations, then find the partner that authorized the donation. Tell that lawyer or engineer you want your damn street light fixed. He or she can put in a call to their “guy” or “gal” and that light will be fixed by the end of the week. But, if you do it by the book, it may take you months or years. The bureaucracy is for some of the people, not all of them.
People come here and check my column from the old life, and I guess they wonder if I am going to ever mouth off about them. No, I’m not. I am retired and want to fade away into the Florida sun like so many other seniors, without getting bothered by any offended politicians or their rabid followers (morons). But, there is nothing wrong with lifting the curtain for a few minutes to try and tell the kindly folks at home about what lies behind it.
A few of you might actually think there might be something in what I said and some will think I’m a some crazy old coot. And, both would be correct, but I’m sure as hell telling the truth that I know.
As always, I wish everyone the best and thank you for stopping by and spending a few minutes. This was harsh -- yes. But, sometimes, the truth is hard and someone just has to say it -- for themselves if no one else.
Have a safe weekend, watch out for the snow and seeya later, alligators.