Sunday, May 20, 2007

Why Care About Corruption?

(Cross-posted at Calitics)

OK, so perhaps people in Southern California are finally starting to notice the immense corruption of members of Congress like Gary Miller, Ken Calvert, and Dana Rohrabacher. However, these everyday citizens and typical voters wonder how all this corruption applies to their typical everyday lives.

Why should they care about whatever Gary Miller did with some Lewis Group company in Upland? Why should they care about some land that Ken Calvert owned near March Air Force Base that just happened to benefit from Ken Calvert's earmarks? Why should they care about Dana Rohrabacher's Hollywood deals? How does any of this matter to people's everyday lives?

When all else fails, voters often choose the party of their choice by default. And though the Republican Party is becoming less attractive nationwide, a good plurality of voters in this area still identify themselves as Republican. They still think the GOP is the party of low taxes and fiscal responsibility. They pretty much set their political compass to autopilot, and they just don't have time to think too much about some silly politics in Washington.

And after all, who has the time to pay attention to these crazy political scandals? Who has time to drop everything in between the PTA meeting and the kids' soccer game, after a hard day of work and before that fancy dinner that's supposed to impress the new client, just to learn more about politics? Why does any of this matter?

That's the challenge here. In order for us to defeat these corrupt Republicans, we have to get our family, friends, and neighbors to realize how all of this corruption is personally affecting them. We have to let them know that all these earmarks that go to these pet projects that just happen to be near their real estate holdings mean money that's NOT being spent on real efforts to relieve traffic, such as improving local freeways and federal aid for commuter rail. We have to let them know that when these members of Congress try to weaken environmental laws, they are just taking away the parks and open space that we all love to hike through, bike through, and camp at, just so that they can make a little more money on their development projects. We have to make that personal connection, and make these folks realize that all that corruption in Washington really is making life more difficult for them at home in Fountain Valley and Mission Viejo and San Clemente.

That's the key here. We have to show to them that all this federal money being spent on these shady earmarks is money that's NOT being spent on the things that we care about. That money should go to our schools. That money should go to our parks. That money should go to our roads. Basically, that money should actually be spent toward helping our communities. These members of Congress should NOT spend that money, OUR MONEY, on projects solely meant to enrich themselves. They're wasting our time, and they're wasting our money. That's why we need to kick them out of Congress!

If we want to defeat Dirty Gary and Crazy Dana and Creepy Ken next year, we need to get these voters in these districts out of their comfort zone of apathy, and force them to see the futility of sending these scumbags back to Congress. We need to get these voters to start caring again. After all, what we don't like about politics will never go away if we never do anything to change it.

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