The Best Congress Money Can Buy

There was a time in our life — we can’t remember when — when it was considered naive to think politicians could be bought.

It wasn’t so simple, we were told, not so obvious. You don’t just hand over a bag of cash and order a vote. No, it was far more subtle — the ability to make a call or walk into an office and command attention, a degree of access unavailable to a mere constituent. You’re buying influence, not action.

And that may have well been the case. Just like it was once the case that MTV played videos. Or that our nation once celebrated what we called “democratic norms”. But whatever world may have existed a generation or two back, it no longer exists today.

You might think folks would notice.

As we write, it’s midnight in DC, and the Senate tax bill has yet to pass. It’s been a lock for most of the day, but then lobbyists rushed in with a list of stocking stuffers, and those are still being processed. The bill is a massive transfer of wealth from the many to the few, its cost measured in literally innumerable ways — innumerable because the “final” text has not been available long enough for anyone to read it, never mind the illegible scribbled amendments. There is no economic argument, even a flimsy one, for its passage. There is only the fact that insanely wealthy Republican donors have threatened to turn off the spigot if they don’t get their reward.

The votes have been bought and paid for. The naive view has won out. You don’t even need to be a hardened cynic to see it.

We knew all this going in, of course. We knew that Republicans were ignoring evidence of Russian interference in our election because the result favored them — a final rig to a system they’ve been doggedly rigging for years. There was never an argument for exotic gerrymandering, or aggressive voter identification, or limited early voting, or anything that stifles the will of the people who are nominally represented. There only was, and is, the naked pursuit of power in service to those with the means to purchase market-friendly souls.

So why do we keep pretending otherwise?

The “we” here is admittedly circumscribed: A third of the population are racist cultists, after all, and slightly more than half the Congress is more than happy to pander to their fears with the money donors provide. In turn, there is a vast media infrastructure, foreign and domestic, that churns out the wave after wave of propaganda required to keep these small minds and lost souls comfortable in the false reality they’ve constructed to fend off the world that exists.

They are not we. We are the rest of us.

Every publication, every broadcast, every website that claims to practice journalism should be reporting these facts, this world, this reality. Every outlet that doesn’t, that continues to treat this as some Great Debate between honest opponents, is only contributing to our national demise by ignoring it. We should not have to struggle daily to see the world as it is through the haze of what we are told about it.

We do not pretend that the journalism we imagine would solve the problems that bedevil us — they are deep and enduring. But we cannot begin to solve our problems until we see them for what they are, and journalism that doesn’t provide that essential service isn’t worth preserving.

Because our government is being straight-up bought. You might remind us of that while you’re excitedly telling us whether Mitch McConnell has the votes to complete the purchase.

17 comments:

2:01 am • Saturday • December 2, 2017

Serfing USA.

2:48 am • Saturday • December 2, 2017

Republicans hate us for our freedom.

3:36 am • Saturday • December 2, 2017

Turns out being white doesn’t protect you from the government after all.

4:13 am • Saturday • December 2, 2017

@nojo:
It never did, but the stupids believed it.

10:14 am • Saturday • December 2, 2017

Laws can be repealed, injustices can be challenged. At this point in our political civil war, I’m just hoping we can avoid an economic collapse or another land war in Asia.

10:38 am • Saturday • December 2, 2017

What I struggle to wrap my mind around is the sheer level of apathy out there, in addition to the sinister stupidity of the public in general.

I mean, these are people that either don’t vote at all, or they’re single issue voters (‘bortions, tax’s, Tea Klux Klan-types). They’re not involved in their communities, don’t donate their time or munnie to anything, and could not care less about the nation, anyone, or anything that does not directly and immediately impact their daily lives.

It’s around half the country, and JFC what’s it gonna take to get through to these relentlessly obtuse morons?

10:56 am • Saturday • December 2, 2017

Poll after poll shows that most people agree with Democrats on all of the issues and soundly reject the RepubliKKKans’ fascist, kleptocratic insanity, and yet they vote for the GOPnazis ‘cuz they hate ‘bortions, tax’s, and brown people. What the (white) public really wants are racist Democrats.

2:54 pm • Saturday • December 2, 2017

The final bill will be typed in Comic Sans.

11:11 am • Sunday • December 3, 2017

Anything new? No? Okay. See you later. (I haven’t been on FB since the bill passed the Senate.)

I’m watching DamNation, though. Not bad.

12:28 pm • Sunday • December 3, 2017

@JNOV: Apparently CNN and NPR are running with “Democrats claim trillion-dollar deficit” instead of sourcing the number to the CBO and Joint Committee on Taxation. This in turn legitimizes the Republican response of nuh-uh.

Oh, sorry. You were asking about news. Apologies for Dog Bites Man.

7:42 pm • Sunday • December 3, 2017

@nojo: ::sigh::

In other news, Vikings is back on. Is Skarsgård the Johnson of Norway Sweden?

12:22 pm • Monday • December 4, 2017

The resistance fights back.

LMFAO

8:53 pm • Monday • December 4, 2017

People who vote for Roy Moore are voting to give him a larger dating pool.

12:29 pm • Tuesday • December 5, 2017

@¡Andrew!: Maybe my eyes are going, but who is that supposed to be on Jabba the Trump’s tail?

12:48 pm • Tuesday • December 5, 2017

@mellbell: Given the Race Bannon haircut, probably Pence.

3:52 pm • Tuesday • December 5, 2017

@nojo: Larger version here. Thinking maybe Sessions?

5:31 pm • Tuesday • December 5, 2017

@mellbell: Could also be Flynn.

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