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Opinion Pieces
January 1, 2005
Are We, The People, Both Dumb and Stupid?
By Joe Klock, Sr.
     Time was when "dumb" and "stupid" meant two entirely different things.
     Dumb people were those unable or unwilling to speak, while the stupid ones were so stigmatized for their lack of intelligence.
     Increasingly, in these unkind and ungentle days, the masses of America  merge these disparate terms, donning the mantle of stupidity by engaging in the practice of dumbness, in the face of a growing oligarchy..
     Our Founding Fathers envisioned a nation managed by true public servants who devoted only a portion of their time to running the government, supporting themselves by other pursuits at  home.
     They would, I'm sure, be horrified to witness the present system, wherein office holders and career bureaucrats hold and wield power almost comparable to the feudal lords of old and the warlords still in control of the Third-World-Going-On-Fourth.
     Meanwhile we, of the silent (nee dumb) majority, express our outrage by wailing and eye-rolling at cocktail parties, water coolers and friendly local taverns, both before and after sending the political foxes back to their henhouses of power.
     Witness the fact that very few Sinators and Reprehensibles failed in recent bids for re-election, returning many of them to lifetime fiefdoms on Crapitol Hill, with perks that would make a Crown Prince salivate with envy.
     From these positions of influence and privilege, they are free to dispense favor to their supporters and punishment to their foes, with little accountability to the public and few consequences for misbehavior.
     In this dark endeavor, they are abetted by an army of imbedded civil servants, who survive administrative changes like an infestation of governmental cockroaches.
     With the reckless abandon of feckless heirs, trophy wives and drunken sailors on leave, the "ins" gorge themselves at the pork barrel, while simultaneously wringing their hands about excess spending and wasteful projects.
     Pause here, please, to recognize that not a plugged nickel is expended by the government without Congressional approval, so disabuse yourself of the notion that the Executive Branch is solely responsible for deficits and commendable for surpluses.
     The ravenous carnivores of both parties feast on public pork to ingratiate themselves with the homefolk and scratch the backs of fellow feasters.
     And shed no tears for the few incumbents who lose at the polls. You'll shortly find them with cushy jobs in the lobbying legions or private industry, managing to 'get by' on three or more times their in-office incomes.
     Hello there, friends...it's OUR money (and, increasingly, that of our descendants), and we not only sit dumbly on the sidelines while they piddle it away, but punish them with free tickets to the next political pig-out.
     Urgent suggestion: If you REALLY care about this, go to your computer (or ask any kid to do it) and enter
www.cagw.org, which will take you to the home page of Citizens Against Government Waste. There you will find a stomach-turning (dirty) laundry list of mismanagement  that goes beyond fantasy.
     The 3,300-page, $388 billion "Omnibus Bill," rushed through in the dying hours of the last Congress (and read through by almost no lawmakers), contained bonanzas for such critical enterprises as the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, an animal waste management research laboratory, mitigation of congestion in Kapolei City, Hawaii, a million-dollar museum honoring blues musician B.B. King and an equal sum for a "Wild American Shrimp Initiative."
     Don't go to cagw.org, though, unless you're also willing to bitch loudly about what you learn, both to those in power and to the editor of every publication you read. (TIP: To express your views to anyone in Congress, just dial 1-877-331-2000 and ask for him/her by name. The call is toll-free and you'll feel good after making it!)
     The perpetrators of this massive embezzlement are a powerful and entrenched force, which owes its continuance to the dumbness-cum-stupidity of the nice folks (like you, maybe?) who take it lying down.
     Ronald Reagan had it dead right when he wrote that "Government is like a baby: An alimentary canal with a big appetite at one end and no sense of responsibility at the other."
     Like infants, governments need to be changed when they make poopies. Waiting for either to do it themselves is an ultimate act of stupidity...as is responding to mismanagement and influence peddling with dumbness.
     They WILL, by the way, respond to negative feedback from nice folks like you. It is, in fact, the only thing politicians really fear.
     For evidence, check Ukraine!

NOTE TO READERS: Joe’s Opinion Column is published in 178 newspapers nationwide.  If you would like to receive Joe’s Opinion Column directly, you may join Joe’s “Kith & Kin” list by sending your name and e-mail address to JoeKlock@aol.com, with "SEND OPINION COLUMNS" in the subject line.

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