Chapter 3



The Body Politic


"Don't tell my mother I'm in politics. She thinks I play the piano in a whorehouse." - Anonymous

       There are about 511,000 elected officials in America. Our problems are not for a lack of elected officials in our democracy. This number includes not only legislators and governors, but school boards, judges, and dog catchers. One thing to remember about how we elect our leaders is that it has been a dirty business from the beginning. As bad as the system looks today, it’s historically typical. The election of Thomas Jefferson was perhaps the dirtiest in history. Entire books have been written about it.

      A grand change between the election system designed by our Founding Fathers and what we have today is in the number and kind of voter. The Founding Fathers designed a system where white, male, property owners voted. Women played little role in the business of government in those days. The feeling was that all women got married and the husband, as head of the family, represented the family’s interests with his vote. Also, there was no income tax. The federal government got its money by taxing exports and imports at the major ports. States got their money chiefly through property taxes. Since property owners paid these property taxes they should have a say in the government that taxed them.

      Limiting voters to property owners was accomplished by the poll tax. Anyone who could afford it could vote even if they did not own property and some non-property owners did vote. So the voters, it was thought, were educated men (property owners) who had a financial interest in the laws being passed and so they would be conscientious with their valuable vote.

      The first major change in this system was after the Civil War when black men got the right to vote. Later, during the women’s suffrage movement, women, including black women, got the right to vote. Then in the 60’s President Lyndon Johnson got the voting age reduced from age 21 to age 18. The thinking was if they were old enough to be drafted and sent to war, they should have the vote and knowing that they would vote liberal.

      Now some want to extend the vote to convicted felons, who are prohibited from voting, and now we hear that illegal immigrants are voting. Extending the vote is done by politicians and given to citizens that would vote for them. The Republicans after the Civil War assumed that the Blacks would vote for the Republicans who liberated them. Lyndon Johnson assumed that the idealistic young people would vote Democratic. Those who are trying to get the vote extended to felons, the Liberals, assume that these convicted felons will vote for the Democrats, as will any illegal immigrants since many need the social services that the Left provides. I am not saying that universal suffrage is bad, I am merely explaining its effect on the body politic. But what argument would you may against extending the vote to 16 year olds? Many work and pay taxes. This is taxation without representation, a phrase that started the American Revolution. The English made a big mistake by not simply giving the Americans a few seats in the House of Commons, eh?

      Although the Hispanic vote is split about 60/40 – democrat/republican – there is a race to get the Hispanic vote. Neither side wants to be seen as anti-Hispanic by insisting on a fence along the border for example. Other ways to lose the Hispanic vote is to support the idea of English as the official language, support ending bilingual education in schools, support ending welfare for illegal immigrants, support stopping children of illegal immigrants for attending public schools, insisting on employers being fined for hiring illegals and support ending sanctuary cities where illegals can live without fear that the local police will report them to the federal government. Support any of this and you lose the Hispanic vote or at least a majority of it. In these days of close elections, neither party can afford this. This explains the mystery of why we have allowed ourselves to be invaded by 12 million Mexicans. Note that this would not have happened in with the system original designed by the Founding Fathers.

      Another change in the body politic is how much power a very small minority of voters have with America split about 51% to 49%, liberal and conservative. A good example of this is the gay vote. Gays are a very small percentage of the population. Yet, these days, their vote can swing a close election. Thus, nobody wants to alienate the gays. Thus, they have great power. Power beyond their numbers. The Jews are in the same position. This power comes from the fact that these minority groups are willing to vote as a bloc. However, as the pendulum swings to say a 60% to 40% either way, all this power evaporates. Everyone realizes this so that when the moment is right, as it is now, these things have to be locked into law. Things like gay marriage.

      As people, the huddled masses, who have no idea what is going on in terms of international affairs and national economics, to name two, vote, then on what do they base their vote? They vote based on how well they like the candidate. Thus, being liked becomes the trait that modern politicians seek. These people are generally attractive and have charisma. TV adds to the idea of star quality as a qualification for getting elected. Thus, money is needed to buy the expensive TV time.

      Therefore, the role that money plays in the process has increased. Early elections featured news paper articles and printed pamphlets. That did not cost a lot of money. But elections ride on the back of technology. When the railroads came into being, whistle stop tours became the way to run for President. Making speeches from the back of the last car as the train stopped at every little town cost more money to pay for the train.

      Later radio was invented and still more money was needed to buy time on the radio to get the message out. That cost even more money. Finally came the 800 pound gorilla – television. Sixty seconds of television time costs thousands of dollars. Running your message several times a night on prime time for months of an election season costs millions of dollars.

      Thus we have an electorate, who has no clue as to what the real issues and vote based on star quality, appearance and charisma. Fashion specialists choose the apparel. Makeup artists make the candidate attractive, professional speech writers tell them what to say and body language experts tell them how to move. It is exactly what goes on in Hollywood when making a movie. And like a movie, you can have many takes. The idea is to make many takes and figure our later which take to put on TV.

     Speaking of makeup, the people who heard the Kennedy/Nixon debates on the radio thought that Nixon won. Those who saw it on TV thought that Kennedy won.

      The political message, too, is undergoing change. George Orwell showed his genius when he addresses this is his famous book 1984. He coined the word “newspeak”. He realized that points could be made and arguments could be won if you could just change the meaning of words. For example, the word “family” used to refer to a dad, a mom and a couple of kids. Now the meaning of that word is being changed. For example, we are being told that two gay men living together is a family. Taken to extremes, any group of people living under the same roof with a loosely connected economic situation is a family. This means that wherever the word “family” is used in the law, it applies to these families also. This naturally changes the meaning of the phrase “family values”. What are family values in the context of these new families?

      Any lifestyle can now be justified by calling it an “alternative lifestyle”. Sodomites are now called gay. Much of this is done under the doctrine of “political correctness”. In its beginning it made some sense. For example, we should not call fat people fat, we should say that they are obese. This was more a matter of manners at that point. But there is always another shoe to fall. The question always is where are they going with this?

      Taken to extremes it’s speech control. There might soon be a list of words that one can’t use in public discourse. It might be considered as "hate speech". First, we make hate speech against the law,  then we are obligated to issue a list of hate speech words. Speech control at its finest.

      Politicians, or at least their speech writers, are attuned to this. Speeches are carefully written to avoid any words on the list that are not politically correct. Mark Twain said that the difference between the right word and almost the right word is like the difference between lightning and lightning bug. He was right. Nothing works like he right word. But what if the right word is on the list of politically incorrect words?

      All of this has the effect of eliminating straight talk, despite John McCain’s “straight talk express”, and watering down political speech into meaningless words which when put together with the right hand gestures, makes it look like something worthwhile was just said. Factor in a good looking person with the right clothes and makeup and you have a candidate for office.

     Today it is generally accepted that politicians should be lawyers and have experience. Have you ever wondered what the background of those who signed the Declaration of Independence was? Of the 56, 24 were lawyers and jurists. 11 were merchants, 9 were farmers and large plantation owners. I wonder if the Founding Fathers felt that all politicians should be lawyers.

      They do write laws after all but every committee has staff lawyers available for that work. So the legislators on the committee could be businessmen, teachers, farmers, doctors, etc. In fact, and most American do not know this, but much legislation is written be the lobbyists themselves. They present the bill they wrote, usually hundreds of pages, to the committee and say that this is the bill that we would like to see passed by Congress. So in many cases they write the bill and provide it in machine readable form as well.

      The other, and perhaps more alarming dimension to a candidate’s resume, is that he or she must have experience in politics. This creates the “professional politician.” Now what is a professional politician? What traits does he or she have? Well, there is experience in government. They have been around. They have many friends and contacts. But can only such people write and get good laws passed?  Do people vote for legislation out of friendship instead of the words in the proposed law? Hopefully not, so why would the number of friends they have matter.

      As for experience in government there are hearings where people come forward to talk about the issues in the proposed law. These people have experience too. It’s their job to educate the committee members.

      All this tends to keep ordinary people out of politics because the public has bought into the idea that what we need are professional politicians who can bring back the pork from Washington. Well, we need only to look around to see the mess that these professional politicians have made.

      One can judge people by the people that they elect to office. People vary across America, some sophisticated and some not too sophisticated. The politicians they elect to office are a mirror reflection of the electorate who put them there. One sees some congressmen who are, shall we say, not Churchill's. Accordingly, one sees politicians who speak correctly, use sophisticated sentences and say something significant. Seeing the part of the country that they come from explains this phenomenon.

      Many of the changes in politics is due to the idea of diversity. We were told in the 70’s and 80’s that diversity was good, diversity is American’s strength. It is a natural thing to say when you find yourself diverse. The psychologists call this the “sweet lemons” rational. Stuck with something, you rational that it is a good thing to have.

      The idea quickly grew. If diversity is good, then more diversity is better. This has many handy uses. The influx of illegal Mexicans makes us more diverse. H1B visas used to bring in the technical workers that our failing education system can’t produce makes us more diverse. Thus, all this is good.

      There is an active effort to make college campuses more diverse. Apparently, a campus of white males would fail as an education institution despite the fact that the Georgia Institute of Technology produced many fine engineers for many years as a chiefly male institution. West Point produced fine officers. There are even all women’s campuses. They worked as well.

      What is behind this is that the function of schools has changed. They now produce well rounded citizens rather than mere educated people. We see this is high school as well now being highly socialized but producing kids who can’t do math. It is in fact that schools, an arm of the state, are attempting to create what it thinks are well-rounded citizens. This is a dangerous process.

      Diversity has changed the political discourse in two ways. First, politicians have to appeal to people of many cultures and second, the issues become more complex requiring some fancy dancing to work around. We are no longer a melting pot but a mosaic. Mosaic societies do not have their own culture, rather they are a blend of many cultures.

      The first round of large scale immigration in the late 19th century was from Europe and they had no problem blending in. This latest immigration movement is by people from Asia and the Middle East. Asians are not interested in immigrating to America to become Europeanized. They want to maintain their own culture. In earlier days, there were efforts to teach everyone English. Today, the trend is to have bi-lingual education.

      These people have different cultures and religions. Suppose there is something in their culture that we find offensive in our culture like female circumcision. What happens next? Do we allow it because it’s part of their culture although it might actually be illegal here? Suppose their culture allows what we would call under age drinking. Suppose their culture allows drug use. Suppose their culture allows a man to beat his wife. Many cultures do.

      If our laws trump their culture, a case could be made that our laws discriminate against their culture and by extension discriminates against them. Since laws can’t discriminate, what do we do now?

      We never saw an argument that diversity was good. We were just suppose to accept it as, as self-evident. Diversity, in fact, factionalizes society and the common interest becomes harder to define.

      Cultural discrimination will be the next great social issue in America, replacing racial and gender discrimination.

      We see this now with the language issue. With more and more with Spanish speaking citizens there is an effort to teach kids in Spanish. There is also a reactionary effort to make English the official language. Anybody for that are called anti-Hispanic and even racist and are sure to lose the Hispanic vote.

      Many businesses phone lines say “for English press 1, para Espanol markque dos.” They want the Hispanics to know that their money is welcomed. Businesses don’t care about politics, they only care about money. Businesses will kowtow to anybody. The bowing is insincere to be sure but it makes money. The customer is always right, even when they are wrong.

      We never had this problem to this degree in the first wave of immigration and everyone learned English. Other minority groups are insisting on using their own language. Driver’s license applications, voting material and other government documents are now available in Spanish and other languages at an extra cost to the taxpayer.

      The problem with all this is that America is an English speaking country and the sooner you learn it and the better you can speak it, the better are your chances for getting ahead and becoming prosperous. Imagine that you went to China and spoke little Chinese. Would anyone hire you? You would not even be able to communicate effectively with your co-workers. Nobody would give you a job, nor could you go to school.

      This is the predicament that many Hispanics and others will find themselves in in the future, all along claiming some sort of discrimination. The politicians seeking their vote will be supporting them just like they did with the bilingual education issue. Not finding gainful employment, many will turn to welfare. Of course, at the welfare office, employees will be expected to speak Spanish, for example. In fact, that could be a prerequisite for getting the job. So then we have this absurd situation. An American can’t get a government job which their tax dollars pay for because he or she can only speak their native language, English.  

     We are doing Hispanics and all other minority groups a great disservice by not forcing them to learn English. They will not understand the contracts that they are signing. They will be a sucker class for any clever businessman that wants to take advantage of them. Maybe that’s the point. Maybe this is class warfare. Maybe the point is to create a class that can be taken advantage of by businessmen and politicians.

      Today, the Left controls the national press, the school systems, the colleges and universities, and Hollywood. Their social agenda is being taught in elementary and high schools, and to a lesser extent in universities. It is to a lesser extent because in college, students can often pick their college professors, students in lower schools can not pick their teachers.

      The Left’s effect from Hollywood is not so much that movies carry a Liberal message, though some do, but rather because actors become famous. Being famous they can get on TV and speak to the public. This represents a major change from the Hollywood of the past. Earlier, studios specifically told their actors and actresses not to take political stands in public. The idea was that this was sure to alienate some fans. But that was when the studio system pervaded Hollywood and movie making. Studios spent great sums of money grooming and fashioning their stars because the star was the drawing card for movie attendance.

      But the studio system is largely gone. Stars are no longer under contract to a studio and obliged to obey the rules that the studio sets forth in the contract. Stars are more like free agents and free to speak their mind. So we see them at rallies denouncing the war, denouncing President Bush and publicly supporting the candidate of their choice. There is nothing wrong with this except that the public can’t get past the star quality to ask “what are his or her  credentials to take this position.” For example, what does this star know about the military? Has he/she ever been in the military? Has he/she ever been to Iraq. Have they ever read a book about the history of the Middle East in general and Iraqi history specifically? Where did they get the information to take a public position on the war and try to influence public opinion? But these questions are never asked as the public is blinded by star quality.

      So Hollywood actors are influencing public opinion and their opinions are generally Leftist. How did they come to be Liberals. You would think that they had a hard life climbing to the top in a highly competitive field. You would think that they spent a lot of time unemployed or working menial jobs. The joke in L.A. is when you meet someone who says he/she is an actor, you ask them what restaurant they work at.

      They have worked hard but many of their views come from the businessmen with whom they have to sign contracts. They come to loath these businessmen, who try to cheat them at every turn. And by extension, they come to loath all businessmen. Well, since most businessmen are Republicans then that loathing extends to Republicans as well.

      But there is a compensating angle. Actors are good looking people. They have to be. It’s part of star quality. It is an unfortunate fact of life that beautiful people have it easier in life. Beautiful women can open doors with just a smile.            Handsome men turn eyes and get attention wherever they go. So their lives are not all that hard when compared to people who are not attractive. I suspect that they have had it easy and thus tend to be liberal in their thinking. Often, how hard you have to work at life depends on how cute you are.

      Finally, they tend to appeal to the politics of their fans. Most movie goers are young and not yet hardened by life, thus they tend to be liberal, and most movie goers are in the liberal big cities. Small towns are lucky to have one movie theater while big cities have a dozen movie theaters.

       So Hollywood is typically liberal and the stars can easily get before the public and express their liberal views to a candid public who seldom wonders where they get the authority to speak on those subjects.

      But to their credit they do get involved which is more than can be said for most people. Only about half the public even votes and fewer still attend school board meetings and city council meetings. Fewer still write editorials for their local newspapers. So we have to admire people who get involved even if we disagree with their position on matters. At least they are involved.

      The annoying thing for me about Hollywood is their remaking of great movies. Often this is done to upgrade the movie to a newer technology but too often they change the message of the original movie. It that case, it can become George Orwell’s history rewrite come true. The problem is that the viewer did not see the version of twenty years ago to be able to compare the message of original with the message of the remake. They only see the remake and its message. And older viewers who might remember the original movie don’t tend to go to the movies as much as younger people do, especially if they saw the original. So the process is ripe for rewriting history to the extent that movies represent history at all. Hollywood is famous for departing from the facts to make a more entertaining movie.

      The problem is that many people don’t distinguish between movies and TV and reality. They assume that what they see in the movies and on TV is reality. They think that this is the way the world actually works. Of course there is justice, just watch Law and Order. The criminal always gets caught and punished. In reality few criminals are caught and those who are often plea bargain down the offense and might get only probation or jail time and early release.

      When crimes are reported on the news the crime itself is news. If they catch the criminal, that is news also. What is not news is what eventually happens to the criminal. Have you even wondered what happens to all those drivers you see on TV in those high speed chases. The chase is news. So did the guy go to jail, lose his license or what? Well that is never reported. I suspect little happens to these people but I do not know for sure because it is never reported.

      Our evening news starts out with murders, rapes, robberies and the like. We are often 15 minutes into the news before non-crime stories are reported.

      Recall that the press is generally Leftist and in a following chapter, I will make the assertion that the trail lawyers, who contribute heavily to the Democratic party, make more money if there are more criminals on the street. So with the press’ support, nobody is made aware of the leniency with which these criminals are treated. That might expose the whole game. If you want to know what happens to criminals, watch Law and Order. It is not in the interest of the Liberals, supported by the trial lawyers, to let the public know what actually happened to these criminals. And the liberal press cooperates.

      Another dimension to the body politic is the revolving door. This is where a politician loses the election so what now. He or she needs a job and they have resources – they know people on Capital Hill where they have served, for example. But this is true for local governments as well. So they become lobbyists. There is nothing wrong with lobbying and the Constitution allows us to “petition the government for redress of grievances”. This is the legal foundation for lobbying.

      The problem for any citizen wanting to talk to their representative or senator is access. How do you get in to see them? They are very busy with committee hearings and the like so the best most can do is speak with a legislative assistant. Perhaps your message will get through to his boss and perhaps it won’t. It would be nice to speak with the legislator directly but that is difficult, difficult unless you know him or her because you used to serve with him or her when you were in office. Then you may be allowed access.

      If you are to become an effective lobbyist you must have access to powerful people. So with the revolving door, defeated politicians become lobbyists because they have access to the legislators with whom they used to serve. You then charge clients money to get their message to the legislator through you. You will make their case for them. Why can’t they make their own case? - because they do not have access.

      What makes this process particularly disturbing is that these lobbyists often have clients who represent foreign governments and foreign companies who are competing with American companies. Imagine a powerful Senator is defeated, becomes a lobbyist and takes as a client a foreign company. His client may be competing with an American company for business or favorable legislation to make it easier to do business in America.

       So now we have an American, formally a powerful senator, with many friends on Capital Hill, working for the interests of a foreign company and against the interests of an American company. You might think that a powerful American would support the interest of an American company but you would be wrong.

      What he is actually doing as a lobbyist is working in his or her own selfish interest. He/she is making money working against the interests of American companies and getting paid a lot of money for that. There are also foreign lobbyists who lobby American politicians. Why would the legislator even meet with a foreign lobbyist? Well perhaps his company does business in America and pays taxes here. That makes the foreign company a taxpayer and the legislator feels an obligation to talk to all taxpayers, including foreign companies.

      Yet another change in politics and an indication of how vicious the process is becoming is the tactic of shouting down a speaker. We value free speech in American and believe that everyone should be able to speak his or her mind. Yet we find all too often that the speaker is shouted down by hecklers in the audience. Typically, these are conservative speakers thus the hecklers would be Liberals. Yes, Liberals who profess to believe in freedom.

     Many times conservative speakers are invited to a college or university to speak. Then they are shouted down, sometimes the stage is rushed and a spectacle is made of the entire appearance of the conservative. This comes, from of all places, colleges and universities which claim and even brag about being bastions of open learning, freedom and free speech. Yet the university officials do little to stop it. But then the officials are Liberals also.

      Many think this is a planned ambush. We invite this conservative speaker here to speak. Then they are shouted down by the students making a spectacle of the conservative and the press is filming. Others see the invitation as sincere and it’s just the students that do the dirty work. Whatever the cause and especially at a college or university, it should not be tolerated. The misbehaving students should simply be expelled for the quarter or semester for violating the civil rights of the speaker. In public rallies this would be harder to do since the protesters are on public property and are themselves exercising their own rights to free speech and freedom to assemble. But on campuses a case could be made to stop it.  

    The point is why is it happening? If I knew I was right and the speaker was wrong then I would let them speak. Then I will speak and we let the audience decide. But disrupting free speech you are sending the message that you are afraid of their words and by extension afraid that they are right and that the audience will agree with them. That is not a good message to send especially at a supposed place of education and enlightenment.

      Another problem for democracies is there inability to plan. The party in power makes plans but if and when they are turned out of power, the new party cancels those plans and makes plans of their own. In effect over a, say, 20 years period there is no planning and no plans at all.

      Realizing that the members of the House of Representatives would change every two years, and that this would result in a unstable government where hot legislation would be passed that addresses what the Founding Fathers called “light and transient causes”, they established the Senate to add stability. The Senate typically represents the status quo while the House represents change. Often a bill will pass the House but not the Senate and visa versa. The Senate, which usually represents the interests of the rich becomes an anchor resisting changes that the people want.

      Our political system does offer many ways for the public to be a part of the system. People can vote, contribute money to candidates, attend school board and city council meetings, write to Congress and other political offices, write editorials to the local paper and attend rallies and protests. Few citizens do these things and only about 50% even vote. Thus, it is said that people get the government that they deserve and by extension, they get the society that they deserve.

     What we have is a disconnect in thinking. The public thinks, OK we put you into office so run things and don’t bother me. The politicians are thinking, OK here we are in office so what do you want us to do? The public fails to consider that electing them is only the first step and that they must continually put pressure on the elected officials to do something. Meanwhile, the elected officials are saying that we don’t hear any public outcry for these changes. To the public the thinking is that surly you can see what needs to be fixed unless you are blind. The elected officials are thinking that we represent the public’s wishes. We are not dictators who just come up with these things on our own. Tell us what you want us to do. Meanwhile, the public is disengaged having elected people to run things.

      We often hear things being called un-American. Now what is that? Are there things that are un-French, un-English or un-German? When the Beatles appeared in America their haircuts were called un-American. This caused the witty John Lennon to remark “That’s very observant of them because we aren’t American”

      The name implies that America is somehow better and more than just an ordinary country and as such there are things that are un-American. What is it about America that makes us different in that sense? The world probably thinks that it is very pompous of us to use that term.

      Finally, technology has changed to body politic, it is a property of statistics that a small sample of the population, if chosen randomly, will reflect the properties of the entire population. This means that if you choose 1000 people at random and ask them questions about something, their answers will reflect how the population of, say, one million people would answer those question. This is very convenient since it would be a lot of work to ask those million people something. In this example, a thousand times more work.

      This feature of statistics has led to polling. If you want to see what 200,000,000 Americans are thinking, you need only to ask, say, 2000 American chosen at random. The more you ask, the smaller be what is called the margin of error in the poll. Polls are usually have a margin of error of 3 or 4 percentage points. This is because the pool of respondents is not truly random but as random as you can get it.

      How has this affected politics? Well it lets the politicians know what the people are thinking about various issues and thus lets the politician know what to say in speeches when addressing the people. Is there anything wrong with that? The politician is, after all, supposed to be representing the people. By the polls, the politician knows what the people think.

      But these people call themselves national “leaders” and not national “representatives”.  There is no leadership when you are simply voting the will of the people. The people may be wrong in their views. Who is going to change their mind? Somebody needs to be saying that this is what we should do or even this is what we must do and not just go along with the will of the people as shown by polls.

      President Lyndon Johnson offered this kind of leadership during the civil right’s movement. President Abraham Lincoln offered this kind of leadership during the Civil War. Who is offering this kind of leadership today and who is just reflecting the answers to questions in a poll?

      Polls are often criticized by the way that the questions are asked. The wording of the question can often prejudice the answer that will be given. Then the pollster can claim something that the public does not actually think. Politicians who only pay attention to the polls are then misled.

      This prejudicing of the answer leads to conflicting polls. Another way to prejudice a poll is by not using the random sample that is required for the validity of the poll. Suppose you conduct a poll in major U.S. cities. Then you claim that Americans believe this. No. All we can say that people who live in major cities believe this. In fact, if the major cities are all located in a particular geographic region of the country, then perhaps all you can say is that people in the South believe this or that or even that people who live in major cities in the South believe this of that.

      It is important that the people understand the point that I am making here because this is how the  system really works. This may be different from what they were taught in school.