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Let’s Fix Congress!: How You Can Help Change American Government … Forever!

Let’s Fix Congress!: How You Can Help Change American Government … Forever!

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Let’s Fix Congress!: How You Can Help Change American Government … Forever!

Länge:
178 Seiten
2 Stunden
Freigegeben:
Aug 7, 2018
ISBN:
9781483487175
Format:
Buch

Beschreibung

Are you FED UP with Congress?

For most Americans, the answer would be an emphatic, “Yes!”. So why do members waltz back into office term after term? Even in so-called, change years?

Are Americans really that dumb? … Maybe not.

In this book, a veteran activist and observer opens the hood of our political system, and reveals as never before the innocent, but crucial errors made by the founders in designing our national legislature.

You will learn how those flaws combined with human nature to produce an institution that now fails us so thoroughly, so often, it no longer seems capable of rational public policy.

You will see how today’s politics seduces and corrupts even the best and most well-meaning leaders, including someone you have trusted (and re-elected) for years. You will understand why our leaders refuse to act, and why reforms fail time and again.

Finally, the author proposes a sensible plan, along with effective steps you can take, to truly Fix Congress, once and for all!
Freigegeben:
Aug 7, 2018
ISBN:
9781483487175
Format:
Buch

Über den Autor


Buchvorschau

Let’s Fix Congress! - Louis Buckner

BUCKNER

Copyright © 2018 Louis Buckner.

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, stored, or transmitted by any means—whether auditory, graphic, mechanical, or electronic—without written permission of the author, except in the case of brief excerpts used in critical articles and reviews. Unauthorized reproduction of any part of this work is illegal and is punishable by law.

This book is a work of non-fiction. Unless otherwise noted, the author and the publisher make no explicit guarantees as to the accuracy of the information contained in this book and in some cases, names of people and places have been altered to protect their privacy.

ISBN: 978-1-4834-8718-2 (sc)

ISBN: 978-1-4834-8717-5 (e)

Library of Congress Control Number: 2018907216

Because of the dynamic nature of the Internet, any web addresses or links contained in this book may have changed since publication and may no longer be valid. The views expressed in this work are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher, and the publisher hereby disclaims any responsibility for them.

This book is a work of non-fiction. Unless otherwise noted, the author and the publisher make no explicit guarantees as to the accuracy of the information contained in this book and in some cases, names of people and places have been altered to protect their privacy.

Any people depicted in stock imagery provided by Getty Images are models, and such images are being used for illustrative purposes only.

Certain stock imagery © Getty Images.

Lulu Publishing Services rev. date: 07/13/2018

DEDICATION

This book is dedicated to the memory of my parents, Louis Buckner, Sr., from whom I inherited an annoying inability to accept things as they are, and Betty Buckner, who insisted that her children learn to write well,

To my late sister, Georgie Buckner, who left this life far too soon,

And to the reformers among us, those souls who struggle against apathy, ignorance and greed, who endure loneliness, ridicule and poverty, all for the sake of making their world just a slightly better place in which to live.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

I wish to thank all who gave me help and encouragement in the publication of this book, and in those endeavors that provided the background for it. In particular, I would like to thank my brother, Harry and his talented wife, Julie for their unselfish support in my early activist days, a time when none of us really knew what we were doing, only why we were doing it.

I am especially thankful to my sister Beth and her husband Mark Shelton, who were especially supportive in many ways over the years.

To my good friend, Al Forrester, who helped with editing and publishing advice, thank you.

To the countless individuals and organizations, particularly Wikipedia, who make valuable information available online, I am grateful.

Though I never met the man, I will always be indebted to the late Peter M. Rinaldo, author of Trying to Change the World. In that book, he examined the lives of history’s notable reformers, observing similar strategies and methods employed by all.

In the process, he identified what I consider the essential principles of successful activism, and provided the inspiration I needed to resume my quest for congressional reform. Without that, this book would have never been completed or published.

And finally, to my life partner, Billie Jean Morgan, who sacrificed far more than love or loyalty demanded in seeing this book through to reality, I can never thank you enough.

PREFACE

This book was begun, as best I recall, in early 1993. At the time, I had tried my hand at making a living with a series of political reform projects, and had failed at every one. Tired, broke, and discouraged, I returned to my hometown in Northeast Louisiana to help in my family’s business.

In time, I scraped together enough money to purchase a copy of WordPerfect for my 286 computer, and started researching and writing in my spare time. I knew there needed to be a book about America’s corrupt, dysfunctional Congress, but I had practically no knowledge about writing a book, and in all honesty, really didn’t yet have a firm grip on the problem, let alone a viable solution.

Eventually, more lucrative opportunities presented themselves, and the book languished, untouched, often for years at a time. Over the years I had the chance to live and work all over the country. I continued to observe our system, learn about authorship and publishing, and mentally develop the remaining components of the book I had begun.

There was even a point in 2013 when I had both the money and the time to complete the book, but the solution had yet to come into focus for me. Somewhere along the way, I stumbled upon a book called, Trying to Change the World, by Peter Rinaldo. It was a study of various reformers, some better known and/or successful than others, and what separated the successful ones from the rest.

The key? Almost everyone who prevailed had written an influential book on the need for change in his area of interest.

Finally, one day in 2017, it dawned on me as to how my book should end. I was able to cut through the clutter, ignore the inevitable imperfections and finish the manuscript by the end of that year.

What you are about read has sections that were written and revised at various points along a twenty-five-year journey. I tried to write in such a way that the book would be relevant over a period of as much as twenty years, as it may take that long for reforms to work. But you are likely to read passages that were clearly written much earlier than the publication date.

Whether this work manages to make a difference for America and its people remains to be seen. But I hope you will agree after reading it, that there is no other book like it.

Louis Buckner

Independence, Missouri

March 2018

CHAPTER 1

Introduction

There have been many books written over the years about the failure of American Government. I have found books about our dysfunctional Congress, books about how we are spending ourselves into oblivion, books about corruption, gridlock, and political monopoly. I’ve read angry books, scholarly books, partisan books, humorous books, and of course, books filled with scandal and gossip, written mostly by Washington insiders, eager to milk their career-long connections to power and fame.

What I’ve never found—and believe me, I have looked—is a book that provides a rational explanation for the above problems, one that offers a realistic game plan for correcting them, or one that puts effective tools for reform in the hands of ordinary Americans.

It is the goal of this book to do all three.

In it, I will explain why Government in our country has ceased to function—in all practicality—as an instrument of the common good. I will show how the institutions we have come to trust, and methods we have all been taught, are at best, ineffective, and at worst, mere tools of the status quo. And finally, I hope to offer a sensible, effective plan for real reform, one that will require your active and continued participation in order to succeed.

You may wonder how a small businessman living deep in the hinterlands, someone who barely graduated from Football U, could possibly know what the great minds of government, the media, and academia have failed to grasp for two hundred years. How could such an insignificant person presume to tackle such broad and intractable problems? What qualifies him to write such a book?

I suppose the answer begins back in the 1960’s, in a small Southern town that could easily have provided the setting for To Kill a Mockingbird. My childhood there was in many real ways a replay of that novel.

Of course, some of the dramatic elements were missing. There was no sensational rape trial that I recall. No one was stabbed to death while assaulting my sister. My dad was neither a widower nor a lawyer, and as far as I know, no one ever mistook him for Gregory Peck. But the culture and atmosphere were identical.

The Civil Rights movement was fought—literally—right outside my family’s front door. And if I ever knew anyone who could be fairly described as a real-life Atticus Finch, my dad was that guy. He spent most of his life fighting the ignorance, hatred and greed that came to define our rural community, and for his efforts, died largely unknown and nearly penniless.

It was there that I became interested in honest government, one that worked fairly and effectively for all. I was also something of a puzzle whiz, always on the lookout for problems others could not solve. As a young man, I became convinced that American government was not working. Sure, we prospered at times, but that seemed to happen more despite our political system, than because of it.

I had to know why, and the answers I was hearing just weren’t good enough. Over the years, I began to see Congress as the source of the problem. It bothered me that no matter which party was in control, or how little they accomplished as a group, they always found a way to get re-elected, before raising their own salaries.

In pursuing my business career, I avoided organizations that depended on federal spending and/or cozy relations with lawmakers. Except for military service, government agencies were not for me. Ditto for big corporations and government contractors. At various points along the way I entered the arena congressional politics, not as a candidate, but as a campaign volunteer. The challengers I supported were principled individuals who dared to confront powerful, entrenched incumbents. I worked night and day for them, never taking a dime for any of it.

As my side invariably lost, I was never rewarded with any sort of job, government contract, or entree into the lucrative world of political entrepreneurship.

Instead, I organized reform groups in communities where I lived, and learned the difficulty of convincing people to give time, effort and money to a cause they readily admit is just. I studied government intensely, combing libraries and bookstores for anything about Congress. In the days before the Internet, I purchased campaign finance data from the Federal Election Commission, and thick reference books from Congressional Quarterly. I traveled to distant colleges and government offices for information.

I learned truths about our national legislature that don’t appear in the newspaper, the average high school civics text, the six o’clock news, talk radio, or the slick mailers that Congressmen—like yours—send out at taxpayer expense. I came to know our political system in a way that few ordinary Americans, and frankly, few political professionals do. I did it without becoming a part of that system, or beholden to it in any way.

Of course I made mistakes along the way—and learned from them. I watched other reformers come and go, analyzing their triumphs and failures. In the process, I developed a new set of ideas, a methodology for effecting real change. Some of my ideas are original. Many follow trails blazed by others. It’s true that no one has ever reformed Congress in any meaningful way. But no one has ever tried the plan described in this book, every element of which has succeeded in some way, somewhere before.

I am in short, an extremely ordinary American, with an extraordinary passion. Like millions of others, I feel American government has become a grotesque distortion of what our founders intended, and in the very best light, is unbecoming that of a truly great nation. What’s different is that I want real, lasting reform, and I’ve spent decades looking for a way to achieve it. The result is a plan I’m confident will work, provided we resolve to follow it, avoid the obstacles and distractions thrown in our path, work hard, and see the job through.

That’s what this book is about.

CHAPTER 2

The Strange State of Our Union

T he United States, now in the still-early years of the twenty-first century, is a land of increasingly curious contradictions. Having emerged triumphant from the Cold War, we now stand astride the world as its one undisputed superpower—a nation of unparalleled wealth, industrial capacity, technological wizardry, and military might.

We live in the finest houses, drive the biggest cars, consume more than our share of food, energy, and the finer things of life. We enjoy the best that modern technology and affluence have to offer.

Consider for a moment the enviable strategic and economic advantages of the United States:

• A vast landmass, rich in resources

• A relatively temperate climate

• An ample coastline, with seaports on the world’s two principal oceans

• Efficient inland transportation

• An effective legal and financial system

• A strong entrepreneurial tradition

• A common language

• A fundamental commitment to education

• Relative unity among its people

• A lack of traditional enemies on its borders.

• The great distance that lies between its heartland and any would-be enemy states

• The added strength that results when the above advantages are combined

No other country on Earth can come close to matching such an arsenal of strategic and economic power. It alone suggests we will lead the world in almost every important way for generations to come. Even our government, with all its defects, stands in many respects as a model for free and successful peoples everywhere.

Yet, strangely, all is far from well in this incredible land of ours.

For several decades now, a national polling company has been asking, Is America on the right or the wrong track? For most of that time the majority have responded, Wrong. But in recent years, that portion has risen to about two thirds—and stayed there despite numerous changes in leadership, policy, and world events.

Another poll was begun in which respondents were asked their opinion of the United States Congress. Incredibly, the approval rating of our great national legislature has rarely risen above 20 percent, and typically hovers

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