By: Jermel W. Shim - 03/25/14
Two things that are commonly said about a democratic political system are "power belongs to the people" and "politicians are the servants of the people." Theoretically, these comments are reasonable, however, the reality is that the opposite seems to be true in today's political world. Politicians today tend to act in their own self-interests to preserve their own agenda – which is to stay in power.
In the political arena, the only time that people seems to have power is at election time. It is the one time when politicians who hold elected office or seek it feel vulnerable. Once in office they reverse roles and act as if they have all the power and the people must serve them. We have witnessed repeated examples of this with the GOP that is controlled by the radical and destabilizing Tea Party faction.
The Tea Party emerged immediately after the election of the first African-American president, Barack Obama, in 2008. Prior to their emergence in the political arena, they were conservative members with radical views mixed in with some libertarian views, and racial bigotry. Their mantra after President Obama took office was "We want our country back." The interpretation of this mantra is that black man (President Obama) has usurped their power and taken over their country and so they want it back.
With the election of Tea Party politicians to the U.S. Congress, and with support from conservative sources, they began to take control of the GOP. Today the GOP leadership appears weak and afraid to rein in their undisciplined Tea Party members or to take reasonable action in the House of Representatives they control. For example, they have failed to extend the unemployment benefits, they have failed to take any measures on gun control, and they have failed to take any action on immigration reform. What they have not failed to do is to allow the Tea Party to force them in taking irresponsible actions like shutting down the government, continue their obsession with wanting to repeal Obamacare, and obstructing everything the president proposes or do.
The Tea Party politicians in the US Congress appear to be drinking the kind of tea that makes them delusional. Consequently, they act against the will of the American people and the constitution. Two of their top senators who have championed the anti-Obama Crusade are trying to position themselves for a run at the presidency in 2016. This is how delusional they are to think that with their radical views, their lack of leadership skills, and their disrespect for the current president, they are qualified to run for the office of the presidency. America does not need political leader who are divisive and who are always creating conflicts.
The Tea Party's rise to power occurred with the help of wealthy campaign donors who have subverted the democratic political process. With huge campaign donations, these wealthy donors back Tea Party candidates and other GOP candidates who are willing to serve them and not the American people. These misguided politicians need to realize that democracy cannot be bought by corporations. If this happens, then the system becomes corrupt and people suffer. True democracy occurs only when the vote of the people is what counts.
There are some who will try to use clever arguments to claim that race has nothing to do with the anti-Obama Crusade that the GOP and the right-wing media have relentlessly waged against the president. The unprecedented blatant disrespect, obstruction of his agenda, vilification of his character, baseless conspiracy theories, frequent overzealous investigations by the Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, all points to one thing – the president's race. No other president in the history of the US has been treated in the manner this president has been treated.
Proof that that racial animus also drives the GOP anti-Obama crusade comes from their response to Obamacare. The GOP has done everything possible to destroy Obamacare (including voting directly or indirectly over fifty times in the House against it) despite offering no alternate plan or any constructive criticism. Most GOP governors have rejected Obamacare along with the Medicaid expansion that would benefit vulnerable underinsured people in their states. Recall that Obamacare is similar to health care that former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney implemented as governor of Massachusetts. If it was good for the GOP then and Massachusetts, why are GOP leadership and the GOP governors rejecting Obamacare? The answer is not really Obamacare but Obama himself.
What is unfortunate about the way that President Obama has been treated by his detractors, is that it has made the country regress instead of progress as far as race relations is concerned. President Obama's election in 2008 was a great opportunity for America to reach the highest point in transcending the problem of racism. Unfortunately, some people want to see America go back to the evil days of racism.
The political crusade that the GOP has unleashed to push President Obama over the racial cliff is unjustifiable, unsustainable, unreasonable, and unspiritual. In this dualism of good versus bad, good will always prevail. In my book, Whom God Has Blessed, Let No Man Curse, I demonstrated that President Obama is a virtuous man. This does not mean he is perfect or you have to agree with his politics. It means that he has better character and integrity than those who are trying to bring him down. His character and integrity are demonstrated in the principles of the Buddhist Noble Eightfold Path that I described in my book
So, while GOP wastes their energy to bring down President Obama, they could benefit from the advice to recalibrate their party to help them be a positive force for America. America does not need more negativity especially with respect to race relations. America is the leader of the free world and we need to demonstrate that clearly. We cannot accuse other countries of human rights violations are how they treat their citizens when we do not even treat our president with dignity and respect.
Jermel Shim is the author of Whom God Has Blessed, Let No Man Curse - Infinity Publishing.