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If bad things happened to politicians

By Bob Parks
web posted April 14, 2008

Many of us have heard the story of Jamiel Shaw, the promising young Los Angeles high school football star shot to death by an illegal-alien-gangbanger. We know that his mother, Army Sgt. Anita Shaw, got the news while serving her country in Iraq. We know that the punk who killed her son was at one point in custody, but was released without having his immigration status scrutinized.

The guy who killed my son was in custody. He had a long prison record … and he was let out without any kind of hearing. He was let out into the community on a Saturday night with no supervision and within 24 hours, he had gotten another gun.
– Jamiel Shaw, Sr.

The incident has aroused the passions surrounding the city's long-standing directive, Special Order 40, which prohibits the LAPD from asking arrestees about their immigration status. Immigrants' rights advocates are busy screaming their traditional charges of xenophobia and racism, while anti-illegal immigration activists seize on another example of an alien who killed again.

I wonder if the Los Angeles City Council would be so seemingly lenient on illegals if say, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's son or daughter was the teenager shot dead in the street?

In fact, we've seen examples where accepted bad things happen (as Barack Obama puts it) to ordinary people, but when they happen to our elected royalty, it's an emergency of monumental importance. Now while I don't wish ill upon anyone, except terrorists, can we admit that we'd live in a totally different America if our insulated politicians were subject to the day-to-day hassles and tragedies we all are?

For example, we know that 100% of the children of the Congressional Black Caucus attend private schools. Can you imagine the reforms that would happen in public education if they sent their kids to the same inner city public schools that their constituents' children are trapped in? Somehow, the Caucus' public school advocacy chant of "Mend it, don't end it" wouldn't wash if their kids came home functionally illiterate, and frightened to return due to threats of being shot or stabbed.

I'd be willing to bet that politicians would be more hands-on in their districts, and more would be done to make the economic environments much more vibrant if their families were dependent on that economy for their survival. There are economically depressed areas in the black community that have been so for decades, and it appears their elected representatives just don't care. As long as they can point to poverty and redlining and neglect to get them re-elected, the dire plight of their citizens is a necessary inconvenience.

Politicians' expenses are fairly well covered. Can you imagine how much different our energy policies would be if they had to pay for their own gasoline for their own car? Bet'cha the gasoline tax would've been reduced, if not repealed, long ago.

Sex offenders roam our neighborhoods like wolves amongst sheep, ready to pounce at any moment. What do you think would be the legislative sentiment on sexual predators if a congressman's daughter was raped and murdered by an offender with a long rap sheet? Do you think we'd be talking about preserving the rights of a pervert who did his time and should have his freedom of movement and privacy observed? If a senator's son were raped by a pedophile, our laws would most surely be more severe than those we have today.

Not to sound like an anti-war activist, but can you imagine the reluctance some of our politicians would be to knee-jerk military action if they (and/or their wives and kids) were subject to an appearance on the front line shortly after the beginning of hostilities? I contend there would be more emphasis on strategy than on posturing and chest thumping. We would go in, kick ass, and get out. No long drawn-out conflicts and partisan declarations of our defeat. We would fight to win and quickly.

If politicians were subject to the same financial limitations we all are, tax policies would be much different than they are now. As of now, they can grant themselves pay raises (try that at your job), thus paying higher taxes aren't that big a deal as they can still pay their mortgages, utilities, clothes, car payments, and expenses, with cash-in-pocket to spare. If the wasteful spending practices resulted in tax increases that took food out of the mouths of their family members, fiscal responsibility would be more than a bumper sticker slogan.

If lawsuits run amok damaged their employers' business and their family members were laid off, we may have seen tort reform long ago. If elected representatives had to pay for healthcare like the rest of us, malpractice insurance (which is a cost passed down to the consumers) would be unnecessary, as frivolous lawsuits would be a thing of the past.

If they had to live in the same neighborhoods as their constituents, complete with gang violence, police would be empowered to fight the plague. Imagine congressmen and senators standing on the steps of the Capitol, and gang members driving by, strafing politicians while shooting at a rival. There would probably be an entirely different attitude about gang violence instead of tolerance because this happens in someone else's neighborhood.

America would be an entirely different place if the bad things that happened to us on a daily basis, happened to those we elect. Until they do, we're stuck with the America they've created and maintain.

Unfortunately, until the Los Angeles City Council's or Mayor Villaraigosa's children are victims of violent gang crime, it will not be taken seriously as the problem it is. City residents will continue to live behind the bars in their windows and more Jamiel Shaws will die needlessly.

We are the America we elect. ESR

Bob Parks is a staff writer for the New Media Alliance, Inc. The New Media Alliance is a non-profit (501c3) national coalition of writers, journalists and grass-roots media outlets.


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