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Is anyone on Capitol Hill looking out for the voters?

By Frank Salvato
web posted June 27, 2005

When US Representative Henry Hyde spoke about the bill that would penalize the United Nations half the dues it extorts from the US annually for not embracing reform he included as shocking a statement that has ever been uttered on Capitol Hill. He alluded to the fact that those who represent us in Washington DC need to be "good stewards of the people's money." Of course, for this statement of common sense to have any meaning those in Washington would first have to understand that the money they "appropriate" isn't theirs, it's ours, and that they work for us.

I like Henry Hyde. Some on the left still insist on blaming him for Bill Clinton's self-inflicted problems. Clinton's visits to Monica Lewinski's "cigaritorium," understand the strict interpretation of the law, were Hyde's thankless responsibility to investigate and prosecute. He has consistently proven to be a man driven by common sense, patriotism and the notion that elected officials should first and foremost look out for their constituency. After all, the title is that of "public servant," not political peer of the realm.

Sadly, Henry Hyde is a dying breed. Mr. Hyde is retiring and that will leave Washington DC with one less reasonable voice committed to representing the folks back home. He will be missed.

Today's elected official is working less for those who voted him into office than he is for his political organization. Both sides of the aisle are guilty although it is perhaps more prevalent on the side that marches from the center toward the left onto oblivion. Most of today's elected representatives have completely forgotten for whom it is they work.

When the Founding Fathers came up with their "great experiment" they envisioned those who would populate the halls of Congress as "everymen." Serving as an elected official is supposed to be a civic duty. Being elected to office obligates one to serve the citizenry of one's state or district, not a political party or organization.

Increasingly the allure of power has corrupted the men and women on Capitol Hill. While absolute power corrupts absolutely, the allure of power poisons clear vision and destroys common sense while pandering to the weakness in those of little strength. Judging from many of the actions emanating from Congress, today a great many of our elected officials are ignoring their duty to their constituents in favor of fulfilling their own ambitions and over riding concerns.

Instead of being dedicated to appointing judges who are the most knowledgeable of the law – those who would be the best stewards of the US Constitution – many in the Senate has chosen to twist the judicial confirmation hearings of first rate judges into a litmus test favoring activist rights. The fact that these judges have been given the highest ratings by their peers and in most cases have been elected by an overwhelming majority of their constituents is seemingly inconsequential. Discounting qualified candidates is the mark of a poor constitutional steward.

The idea of righting the wrong that is the Ponzi scheme of Social Security has been derailed by those on the left too hell-bent on opposing each and every idea coming out of George W. Bush's administration. Calling a plan that allows for ownership of one's own hard earned money "risky" and painting a voluntary investment plan as a "privatization of Social Security" is hardly being honest with the American people. Quite to the contrary, it is literally lying to the American people while looking out for powerful political special interests.

Perhaps the most egregious abuse of the public trust comes in the form of those in Congress, starved for power, who charge that the President of the United States "lied" to the American people about the reasons for engaging in an "illegal war." The first reason given by President Bush to the United Nations supporting his move to military use was Hussein's acts of genocide. Couple that Hussein's routine violation of the 1991 cease-fire agreement and any question of legality for military action becomes moot. Yet their appetite for power is so overwhelming they would sell out their own country – and constituents – in their quest to attain it.

Sadly, there are many Americans who are completely fooled by their rhetoric. As Harry Reid bloviates about being a champion for the minority and Dick Durbin chokes out a quasi-apology through crocodile tears for equating our troops with those of Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot, we all must ask ourselves a serious question. Who are these political elitists really working for? You? Your kids? The men and women protecting us from another September 11th? Or are they solely working for their political parties and special interest groups? One phone call to one of their offices to talk about the issues should answer the question.

Power-hungry ideologues may say they are securing a voice for the minority in government but what matters most to those so pathetically keen on attaining power are the rights of the monetarily well-endowed, minority special interests who show up to political fund raisers with their checkbooks.

When political parties and special interests are nourished at the expense of the electorate a representative form of government ceases to exist.

A call for revolution rang out across the land in the mid 1700's. "No taxation without representation," was the cry. Then we were governed by an aristocracy. If today's elected representatives are placing the concerns of their constituents second to those of their political parties I see little difference between then and now.

Frank Salvato is the managing editor for TheRant.us. His pieces are regularly featured in Townhall.com. He has appeared on The O'Reilly Factor and numerous radio shows. His pieces have been recognized by the Japan Center for Conflict Prevention and are periodically featured in The Washington Times as well as other national and international publications. He can be contacted at oped@therant.us Copyright © 2005 Frank Salvato


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