Americans are angry and upset with their dysfunctional Congress. This displeasure is expressed in the consistently low approval ratings the Legislative Branch of our government receives, the dissent at the recent health-care town-hall meetings, the numerous critical blogs spanning the internet, including the videos on YouTube, and the steady Tea Party protests around the country.

Some of the protests call for either voting against the incumbents in the next elections or amending the Constitution so that there are term limits for members of Congress. Both of these corrective methods are impractical.

It would be an insurmountable task to get a majority of Americans to vote against the incumbents in one election, let alone in several consecutive elections. Voters consistently re-elect the same politicians because of:  party loyalty, habit, name recognition, family tradition, the earmarks their areas receive, and the lack of choice because of gerrymandering.

Amending the Constitution, designed when there were only 13 Colonies, is a nearly impossible task. It took 70 years of sheer persistence to get the 19th Amendment for Women’s Suffrage passed. Even the onerous Federal Income Tax took four years, from the date it was introduced in 1909, to get enough states to pass this amendment.

Congressional politicians’ main goal is to remain in office. They will do almost anything to preserve their careers. They spend disproportionate amounts of money for a job with an annual salary of $173,800. The average cost of re-election campaigns for House seats is $1.3 million and for the Senate is $9.4 million. Raising these large sums of money begets obligations to the donors, replacing constituents’ representation. This year, during this recession, greedy Congress took a $4,600 increase in their wages while seniors were deprived of an increase in Social Security payments because the cost of living hadn’t increased in the previous year.

The Achilles heel of Career Congressmen/women is their overwhelming desire to stay in office. Recall is a practical way for Americans to hold Imperial politicians accountable. A recall drive should be started as soon as it is revealed that a Congressional member has acted unethically or illegally. Too often, these misdemeanors have been forgotten by election time.  The collection of petitions for recall, especially if successful, will quickly change the attitudes of all legislators. Relying on the chamber’s ethics committees to punish legislators has proved to be pointless because it would almost require a murder to get them to act against a fellow member.

Recall drives should have been initiated when Senators Chris Dodd, Kent Conrad, and Representative Edolphus Towns received sweet heart mortgages from Countrywide Financial or when Representative Charles Rangel failed to report income on his rental property. By being proactive, voters can assure themselves that there will be fewer miscreants serving them in Congress.

For further information, read “Election Hangover” a nonpartisan, unbiased book that presents a complete overview of our government with practical suggestions for reform. This book is available on www.democracyconservator.org and Amazon.com.

Art Woodrow

THE DEMOCRACY CONSERVATOR FOUNDATION

www.DemocracyConservator.org

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