Letter to Congress in need of critique.

gnarlylove

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Hello all. I am new to this forum and have recently found politics to be a highly relevant arena and so I wrote my first letter to congress. It's a doosey and hence needs trimming. Other than sending 2 or 4 separate letters, any suggestions? I'm also up for some delicious debate but I'm inclined to think this would be the wrong section so sorry if this thread needs moved. Either way, thank you to anyone who reads it...

Dear Congress,
I Guarantee this read is with your time; the issues are a perfect match to mull over while on holiday.

A 1M dollar check is enclosed and that’s my entire life savings.

My name is Christopher and as an average citizen I put a lot of effort into this honest evaluation so I hope you take the time, all jokes aside, to listen to what myself and millions are thinking.

I grew up in a working poor rural village on the Ohio River. At 26 I have since left Appalachia many times, yet haven’t lost sight of my humble and hard-working roots. The range of my experience fuses subsistence life with the eclectic modern city life. Living this range has presented a unique chance to understand America through many lenses enriching my understanding of the common search of meaning in our great nation. I have reverently and irreverently lived the gamut between Evangelical Christianity (7 years), the various lack of faith (hedonism, humanism, etc. for another 7), to the past year having found a profound peace in all-inclusive wisdom delivered by the Tao Te Ching. Therein lies part of my credentials and the other half from a liberal arts education with degrees in Philosophy and Sociology. Let’s begin by reflecting on what we share as human beings and may it guide and unite us.

My goal is to reveal our common values and draw out a common vision that our legislators cannot deny As tax payers we are plenty happy to employee representation provided we the constituents and fellow citizens, are given a meaningful voice--a basic tenet of democracy. United we stand, divided we fall.

Indeed, the Declaration of Independence wastes no time assuring us "...all men are created equal..." giving us every right to fair and just treatment just like the next person. No one ought to be denied basic needs and freedom for reasons of race, gender, income or creed. We can agree, yes? Everyone is fundamentally human and this foundational understanding insists we act accordingly. Not only are we equal intellectually but by nature too. Science has revealed the carbon that makes up each person is ancient star dust and to dust we return.

Starting there we find far more common ground than any volatile issue could divide. In fact, the most enlightening thought for any critical thinker is the following (and I sure hope you are a critical thinker as someone who is in charge of so much!) by Sent-ts’an, a Buddhist in 700 C.E. “If you want the truth to stand clear before you, never be for or against. The struggle between ‘for’ and ‘against’ is the mind’s worst disease.”

Pause. Take a moment to Reflect.

In other words, rising above the dichotomy of "Us" and "Them" is the single greatest virtue leading to understanding, truth and objectivity. In sociology this is called othering and finds infinite manifestations, the most relevant being the "Republican"/"Democrat" dichotomy we must put aside. In this light we find the hope of rising above divisive party politics and narrow interests to serve the interest of humanity.

Our Government exists in order to help maintain cohesion for our ever growing diverse populace. Democracy for the people is the way in which society is held accountable. As a normal citizen I can tell you all anyone wants is to engage the world in the most beneficial and sound ways: the maximum positive ethos for society, albeit in conflicting ways. But even people of differing opinions have good relationships that build resilient communities promoting satisfied and free people--the natural result of pursuing life, liberty and happiness. However, our leaders are less and less often showing interest in the nation (lip service does not count) by claiming their decision is for the good of the nation when it’s obviously a ploy to maintain allegiance to party lines.

The trouble of governing is deciding which ways actually benefit society and which do not. With so many voices for and against each view it's easy to despair and perhaps lose sight of us, the majority, and fall into ignoble political games and unadulterated tribalism. Any critical thinker knows every issue should be decided upon the merits of the issue and not predetermined by party lines and corporate funding yet the tribal elements are so extreme to the point of excluding cooperative dialogue, the essence of democratic progress. This is recipe for an unsuccessful political system wouldn’t you agree? This is not a rhetorical question. Civilization and society is about inclusion and all the parts working together; let’s not betray our centuries long motto “E Pluribus Unum" Out of the Many One.

As equal citizens we must recognize we are fallible and need to evaluate our ideas personally and honestly. We must work together and put aside tribalism in order to move beyond our political stalemate and reach any sort of compromise. Sadly, many media companies have used this division as a source of money and so important moral issues are grind into political-entertainment slurry targeted at our base emotions, typically fear and "anger points" (Karl Rove, 2004). The really sad news is this is how so many millions of Americans receive their news: filtered through triablist slurry for easy digestion. In so doing we as a nation and our leaders have long "lost the art of democratic debate" says Michael Sandel, Harvard professor.

In order for a democracy to function there needs to be lively moral debate so that we do not settle for a less than great system. We must redouble our efforts in forging a society fair to all, what’s the harm after all? Furthermore, we cannot even begin the non-partisan dialogue because nobody is hearing the same information. Democracy relies on dissemination of the same true information but with this modern age, propaganda is major money and slander has never been so effective in convincing millions that our Commander in Chief is akin to Hitler or other patently false statements that is accepted as fact by millions. Anyone of sound mind knows this propaganda is a threat to justice because the purpose of propaganda is to bend reality to fit otherwise half-wit views rather than the logical process of altering one’s views to fit the world. Maybe I’m old fashion but this serves to further grind compromise and progress to a halt. Thus the best course of action I can take to combat this attack on democracy is to ignite a proper, healthy debate. Am I loosing my mind or are you following what I’m sayin’ yo? The following is a guide to understanding what’s at stake in our future if we neglect to make some very key policy decisions, ethical U-turns and disallow corporate money to weigh so heavily in campaigns. I am not the only concerned voice.

This is a time of great change. People born in this century will see more change than entire ancient civilizations and yet humanity’s problems have remained the same: stemming from lack of basic needs. We must understand that policy and law is ethics: how we are suppose to interact. So if our policy heavily favors one group of persons and excludes the poor and downtrodden, then by deduction we have policy contrary to the spirit of America and it’s precepts. After all, we are all assured the freedom to pursue life and happiness in our way, like Roosevelt’s 1941 State address we are fighting for “freedom of every person to worship God in his own way...and freedom from fear.” If certain groups are excluded from our national prosperity then we need to examine our ethics and policy. In our time we desperately need genuine leaders who do not shy from important ethical and political issues.

Today however, there is unparalleled selfishness as as candidates scramble over votes, adjusting their political views to whatever crowd is listening. Thus we see that democracy is more about crowd pleasing sophistry rather than time-honored values. The real values tend to be derived from whomever they elect to collect money during a campaign. In theory, nothing is inherently wrong with raising lots of money to be elected; in fact it seems necessary and wise. Once you take a step outside Washington and breathe the objective air, one begins to realize campaign money smells foul.

Money has run rampant in our political process partly due to Citizens United allowing corporations (i.e. flesh and blood human beings), to use their unlimited general treasury to inadvertently fund campaigns by airing repugnant attack ads as well as advocacy ads. This effectively skips over the illegal practice of donating directly to campaigns while still endorsing groomed candidates. This has been done so extremely well that primed candidates have defeated many former incumbent hometown favorites convincing the public through virulent slander campaigns of false accusations (there’s no law against lying on TV). So this judicial ruling allows the democratic process to favor the wealthy even more while also hindering educated voting by Americans since ads are so ubiquitous and influential. It’s no secret “if you want to know the politics you’ve got to follow the money." It sounds a lot like Plutocracy rather than Democracy.

Justice Stevens notes in his dissent that this “threatens to undermine the integrity of elected institutions across the Nation. The path it has taken to reach its outcome will, I fear, do damage to this institution." He explains further, "A democracy cannot function effectively when its constituent members believe laws are being bought and sold."

Can we all agree the ruling of Citizens United has only lead to greater and greater exclusion of the middle and working classes from political influence? Yes. Thus we should adjust policy that reflects our founding principle that every voice matters equally, not just monied interests. Given the fact no politician wants to raise millions and hundreds of millions to just win an election we must make campaigns publicly funded! With public campaign finance we would see our leaders able to devote more time to solving issues rather than pandering to voters and corporate interests.

Unfortunately, we’re going in the opposite direction because there is a push to remove caps campaign donations. Furthering the idea that money=speech=politics=the ethics of society (A=D or money buys a certain set of ethics). In Alabama, McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission is an attempt to eliminate the cap on campaign contributions currently at $123,000 over a 2 year election cycle. Why do wealthy campaign donors seek to uncap donations? It allows them to skip normal procedures of a democracy and elect candidates that favor their monied interests who otherwise do not represent the voice of the constituents. Again, this is an attack on our Democracy and a covert move towards a Plutocracy. We must take a stand and pass legislation that keeps money from fouling up government and our leaders.

The amount of money we are talking about is staggering, hundred of millions upon hundreds of millions spent on politicians and their campaigns! Last year close to 4 billion was spent in lobbying alone and each year it has been on the rise. In fact, this isn’t even news anymore with tons of articles and documentaries released, its well understood corporations are in bed with politicians. CBS printed an article last year entitled: Why is Congress a Millionaires Club? noting that 66% of Senate and 41% of the House are millionaires. So Congress is benefiting handsomely making this issue bi-partisan. Maybe that’s why there is so much stalemate: once donations are made they aren’t refundable making the ethics and politics backing those donations also non-refundable.

It’s good to hear someone is doing well but unfortunately for the normal citizen, the millions of us, we are struggling with no savings and a lot of debt. The worst part is, with many in Congress achieving millionaire status, they have joined ranks which exclude the overwhelming majority of Americans. Thus, they do not commonly see or even hear about the daily struggle and difficult decisions the normal American faces. This makes it much easier to ignore and trivalize human suffering!

Indeed, the life of the privileged is fraught with private jets, personal helicopters, limos waiting at beck and call, private resorts, golf clubs, beaches, an entirely exclusive society away from us, the rest of America! Out of sight is out of mind! This philosophy allows the normally astute white males to act a fool especially given their job description as representatives of constituents, not just representing corporate backed interests! I admit money can be highly alluring and when someone comes from moderate success and then finds themselves recognized as leaders of the greatest superpower and a millionaire, it does a lot to distort reality.

Please recognize this and put yourself in our shoes. Please remember you are supposedly legislating on behalf of the nation. Not walking among the nation makes it awfully challenging to legislate policies that actually benefit and strengthen the individuals that constitute the nation. Too often politicians carelessly offer lip service to “the American People" with constant repetition and falsified confidence that their opponents are out to harm the country and economy. This sort of sophistry from both parties is downright foolish for compromise and Democracy, but good for capitalists. It helps to understand politics operate more like a business affair than policies and ethics for the people.

Thus we see the difficulty in recognizing one’s own “earned” wealth should be shared with people who did not earn it. In a modern society, everyone is suppose to make money and to a certain extent this is healthy and essential. But what we see today are folks driven endlessly to make millions on top of their millions stemming from ancient roots when scarcity was constantly an issue. However, scarcity is not their issue anymore, it’s not knowing when enough is enough. For capitalism this is second nature but in democracy less sharing results in lowered living standards of the millions at risk.

Today this once-important survival tool has innumerable consequences on society largely manifested by corporations seeking to cut costs for bottom line’s sake. Unfortunately at this time we are running a serious deficit only projected to increase. So when a multi-billion dollar corporation decides to not pay taxes by transfer pricing, than our tax revenue suffers immensely. Since they aren’t doing anything illegal it should be made illegal! As hard working Americans we pay our share of taxes despite not wanting to at times. How is it that corporations can ethically avoid paying taxes, costing billions in revenue while we are in a huge deficit and cut 38 billion in social service programs people need with more cuts likely?

The origin of the problem is in the fact the Federal Tax Code. It has become riddled with loopholes and contradictions. Compared to its current 72,000+ page monstrosity, the first edition drafted in 1926 was a flash fiction novel. Though the current corporate tax rate is supposedly wildly high in America, many corporations with multi-national interests pay a different rate known as their effective tax rate. For 2010 Nike was at 22.7%, JC Penny at 15.9% and Coca Cola at 6.6% while some corporations even have negative earnings through subsidies and rebate programs. For example Verizon’s effective tax rate was -2.9% on its massive 32 billion in profit. Instead of paying the 35% amounting to 11.4 billion, they managed to earn an extra $951 million in addition to dodging state taxes as well. Yahoo is at -9.7% and DuPont is at -11.5% among other giants with negative tax rates. Jeffery Winters, a professor at Northwestern says “somewhere in the order of 70 billion dollars a year is lost to the US Treasury simply to off-shore tax shelters.”

This hasn’t gone unnoticed but its been effectively silenced. Google has been investigated by the IRS over its practice of moving profits around in Ireland, Netherlands and Bermuda to reduce its effective tax rate in half, 18% in 2011 according to Bloomberg News. The drug manufacturer Forest Laboratories was investigated as well but no motions have been made.

During this time, Obama elected CEO of GE, Jeffery Immlet, to a Counsel on Jobs and Competitiveness in which the CEO says despite 60% of GE’s revenues being off-shore he feels personal responsibility as a US citizen to make the US compete on the global market. Yet it was discovered shortly thereafter GE has personally contributed nothing to US tax revenue on its $5.1 billion in profits. He claims they did nothing wrong, “as any American I want to keep my taxes low” but for him they aren’t just low, they are non extant. That is some serious revenue lacking while at the same time GE spent 39 million in lobbying, more than any other corporation. Through aggressive representation and wealth, neither of which the average American possesses, GE adds tax loophole while earning our stamp of approval. Obviously, we need some serious change if GE is praised for its techniques that harms the average American.

In fact, with their profits being transferred to foreign nations when they want to bring it “back" into America, they are suppose to pay the corporate tax of 35%. In order to avoid it many corporations like Google, Apple, Microsoft, Pfizer etc. lobby congress to reduce the tax known as tax holiday. As if they haven’t had enough breaks they want more! Senator Baucas, a member of the Tax Writing Committee, is igniting discussion on this very matter in drawing up a new plan to tax off-shore profits. However, his plan is offering a reduced 20% tax holiday.

It’s no secret what the corporations want here: holding onto as much “earned" money as possible. The question is why should they be given a break? That is a 40% reduction in whatever revenue is generated from the lenient 20% tax. The problem is the system has become rigged for the corporations to “earn" ever greater sums of wealth. Without a doubt congress is being lobbied on behalf of Google and friends with lawyers that are handing drafts to the Tax Committee that will likely get directly grafted into the US tax code helping add loopholes of which they take advantage. Where do I submit my draft? Here? Oh, Good.


It doesn’t take a Rhode Scholar to identify how harmful it is for these corporations to avoid paying millions and billions in taxes. Taxes that make society as a whole better by offering more services to a wider audience, strengthening the community. This issue isn’t limited a few sour laws and judicial opinions, it’s the result of a system that has lost its focus. Our founding fathers were tired of government favoring the aristocrats seeing it as unfair. They intended a government for the people that includes all, barring none. Current debate seems to shows little reverence for this virtue. Since you may be unaware of how Joe the plumber and the Bill the Bus Driver are doing, let’s take a look and see how “our policies" have actually affected our lives.

The working class was told that if we allowed the wealth to be generated at the top to grow through tax cuts to the rich, it would trickle down and benefit us all. This supply side economics ideal has been bolstered in one form or another since Reagan. He took the nation for a ride and we haven’t looked back since--perhaps it’s time? Even Pope Francis is decrying it saying “trickle-down economics has never been confirmed by the facts, [it] expresses a crude and naive trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacra*lized workings of the prevailing economic system.” It’s time to stop demonizing those experiencing generational poverty like myself and address our citizens fairly and responsibly.

From the 1940‘s into the 70‘s income grew at roughly the same pace throughout the income spectrum, high and low. However, with crisis in the mid to late 70‘s and the application of supply side economics in the form of cutting entitlement programs and tax cuts to the rich has continued the prosperous march for the top 1%. In order to avoid equivocation I admit percents of earned income over the middle 60% and bottom 20% has increased by 26%-45% but this is only a marginal increase or even stagnation in income since the 70‘s and 80‘s when it is adjusted for inflation according to active advocate and Harvard Law professor, Elizabeth Warren. The revealing statistics show that since these policies have been in place there has been a marked increase in income inequality.

Currently 95% of income gains have gone to the top 1% in 2009 according to Business Insider. Quite a juxtaposition to the “increase in wages” since the 70's. Nearly 60 million Americans depend on Social Security benefits including my brother and relatives who must choose between their electric bill and Christmas presents for their children. What chances and choices are available for the average citizen when the wealthiest 1% controls nearly 42% of the wealth or when the top 400 individuals have the equivalent wealth of the bottom 150 million Americans? (Rich and the Rest of Us).

These are not mere numbers, it is felt by real people like you and I. The great American Dream of financial security and two or three cars has shifted. With the policies favoring the rich and the rise of branding, the ubiquitous affair of consumerism, we strive for the Dream but many have fallen short. The only benefit from near unfettered competition between companies is that we are able to afford more things and trinkets to fill our lives without real financial security. 43% of Americans spend more than they earn every year. Much of this is due to the explosion in credit during the last two decades. With the various loans and credit cards that rack up debt greater than annual incomes we are forced to work endlessly in whatever job will hire us just to make payments to keep one’s life half-way stable. This life-long indebtedness originating from a few poor choices in youthful naivete egged on by salesman, especially on college campuses.

Thus in lacking a secure financial foundation, the New American Dream has become appearing rich by having all manner of stuff bought on credit. Too bad appearances are inadequate because 4 million homes were foreclosed on, displacing millions. This is questionable improvement because living paycheck to paycheck is no dream or even from cash advance to cash advance! Metlife Study of the American Dream, released in 2011 notes we still believe in hard work as the key to success but “Americans no longer seek to become wealthy; rather, they want to achieve a sense of financial security that allows them to live a sustainable lifestyle.”

The debt burden of families earning minimum wage has steadily risen alongside income inequality from 68% of total household income in 1980 to 97.4% in 2000. Today it is extreme with the median household debt of $75,000, far above average annual incomes in impoverished counties like mine of $33,000/yr. In fact, our debt has become a huge source driving the financial wealth on Wall Street in the form of Collateralized Debt Obligations (CDOs) and other aggregated debt bundles. Despite the meltdown of 2008, we have quickly returned to these toxic loans and high-risk short term capitalism. It caused Greenspan to admit his “idelogoy I’d been using and we all had been using for the last 40 years was seriously flawed” (House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, 2008). We need to regulate the markets or at least do something different!

As the debt has grown so has income inequality. Many debt collectors fail to know this but in the land of opportunity, 12 million Americans are “officially” unemployed, millions more under-employed or have completely given up hope for work. No wonder since 50% of new jobs created in 2011 were low-wage jobs ($7.80 to $15/hour) and only 14% of new jobs earned the national average of $22.60. (Rich and the Rest of Us)

This has an origin in corporations cutting costs only concerning themselves with the profits for the shareholders. They go international to exploit resources and the labor of humans living in abject poverty without labor laws and unions so that they have no choice but to work for what they are told. Men, women and children work around the clock in unseen factories with no fire safety making our lives better, cheaper. Yet the cost of living has not dropped and the inability of the low-wage earners to get out of debt has grown. The conclusion is obvious and disgusting: politics has become economics, in stark contrast to policy as ethics. Politicking is about pleasing corporate interests and not the interests of the over-burdened masses, whether at home or abroad.

It’s bad enough 50 million Americans are currently suffering the plight of poverty but 58.5% of adults will live in poverty for a year or more. That is definite income insecurity. It raises the question: how are the children affected? It is estimated 21.6% of children in America are living in poverty, that’s 16 million kids according to the Children’s Defense Fund! Of those, 7 million live in extreme poverty! There are innumerable heart-wrenching stories that these children live everyday. The National Center on Family Homelessness reported 1 in 45 (1.6 million) children were living on the streets, shelters or motels in 2011. This number is up by 33% from 2007. In no way can we expect these children to perform well in school when subsidies for nutrtionless corn fodder is valued over essential nutrition students need to think and do well in school.

We can all agree the advancements in technology and price efficiency resulting from competition is not an appropriate response to the hundred million struggling Americans. It’s not OK to say “you gotta break some eggs to make an omelet" comparing a human life to breakfast. So many of us have hopes and dreams that go unlived, feeling dumped on by society while we see the top 1% continue in unprecedented prosperity sharing less and less. Solving poverty is an economic imperative with so much money lost in productivity and health care costs from preventable diseases and injuries. We need to abandoned the glory day view of capitalism that is only brings increased standard of living. Its true it did from its inception up until the mid 1970s. After which capitalism has only served to worked us over and decrease standards of living for the masses so the rich can amass more extravagant wealth.

With such an incredibly wealthy nation, it is a moral failing that only a few thousand are welcomed to reap the outlandish benefits. Do you agree? This is a serious economic matter that is detrimental to the lives of hundreds of millions of Americans! We demand that food grown here be distributed to our populace. 1 in 7 children are currently experiencing hunger insecurity says Diane Ravitch. The fact is there is enough food for all 7 billion people to eat 2,700 kilocalories a day, everyday according to former UN World Food Programme Execute Director, Josette Sheran. Yet food is not distributed to the hungry because it’s treated as a commidity rather than the essence of life and so we can deny food to hungry people but we cannot deny those corporations obtained that resource freely, nature did not tax it. Somehow when the basics of life become private property only then does it have value. So unless food is owned it has no intrincsic value? Hmm. Sounds like absolute dribble to me but our system is based on this absolutely flawed perception and will prevent humanity time and time again from benefiting because capitalism accumulates capital where capital already is.

Similarly, we demand the vast wealth that is so heavily concentrated-so concentrated that the top 10% control just shy of 80% of the total net worth in America in 2010. It’s only fair to mention how much philanthropy has grown among wealthy donors in the last few years. Here at home and abroad it has risen almost 4% to 233 Billion annually. But this too is far from an acceptable response. We need to overhaul our priorities so that everyone is respected like the founding fathers intended and as we expect to this day.

We demand policy and perspective change especially for those below the poverty line. They are suffering human rights violations with food and shelter insecurity, as I have personally experienced. When I was homeless I felt abandoned by our nation because I was stigmatized as poor, homeless, and worthless. How I was viewed pierced me with glances from strangers despite all the prosperity around me. Duly note I am a skilled college graduate and yet found myself homeless over an abrupt end to a relationship and a quick change in living situation; trying to maintain my full-time job lasted 3 weeks and I was lucky to achieve that with no bed! Yet we berate their humanity as scum, the same humanity of which you consist. Things and trinkets I could afford did not make the quality of my life better since I suffered the result of financial insecurity in this American free-market system. Waking up on a concrete block to an officer tapping you demanding you leave while writing an unpayable ticket is a daily reality for many Americans and veterans as I suffered over 10 such instances in a month’s time. Without a savings, my family and millions of others live very precariously and it stands to reason that with a few small changes our lives would be up side down. But politicians and the wealthy don’t see this because they don’t frequent the same spots on purpose.

No wonder I had given up on politics in the past couple years thus surrendering my ideas as so many of us young and passionate folks do. Given the recurring news of a gridlocked millionaire Congress and the greatest rates of income inequality it is easy to explain why so many feel disillusioned by politics and half America lacks attendance at the polls. A human can withstand only so much before she begins to resent a system that she feels oppresses her. I assure you this is a widespread belief among many educated citizens resulting in hopelessness and political inaction. This is bad for democracy.

Way back in 2006 before the recession was officially acknowledged, Catholic Charities, a large network of social service providers in America wrote an article noting: “Poverty in the United States is a moral and social wound in the soul of our country. It is an ongoing disaster that threatens the health and well-being of our nation.” Indeed, with such foul policies favoring the rich, we are beginning to threaten national security at the behest of ever great profits. In their article aptly titled “Poverty in America: A threat to the Common Good” showed great disappointment with US policies on the poor. “We have the resources, experience, and knowledge to virtually eliminate poverty, especially long-term poverty, but we do not yet have the political will.” So that is what it comes down to, we lack the political will to serve the needs of people other than us and our cronies?

Sadly, many propaganda outlets would slander this as socialist ideologue or an attack on American Business which millions accept as fact. But please ask yourself, what does socialism or capitalism have to do with having our neighbor fed? There is no -ism to be derived here; it is simply treating our fellow humans in the same manner we wish to be treated. Calling it socialist is an intellectual dodge from the fact that everyone is human and everyone deserves food and security. If anything, this is a long running attack on human beings that are labeled as poor and therefore dismissed. Taking care of one another isn’t an attack on America, it’s a prescription for a healthy society with even greater prosperity since no one is hungry or homeless. Productivity would be shared by all since millions are not just trying to survive. I call on every single leader to consider this egregious gap in the most prosperous nation ever. It deserves a much much better response from our leaders than learning that half of them are bedfellows with corporations.

This is no secret. Can we please be honest with ourselves? Anyone with a modicum intelligence can recognize we are being shoveled BS and we aren’t buying it. We owe it to our humanity as the most intelligent beings in the known universe to treat ourselves, one another and our planet in an honest, caring manner. I'm counting on you to make an honest introspection and listen to this simple, timeless message of promoting positive ethos for all. Reviving democratic debate and understanding that each and every American deserves their basic needs to be met.

A new wave of inspiration can and must quickly form in this digital age. We must take advantage of the technology capitalism has allowed us and hearken back to the age when poverty was the enemy. Carter challenged us in July 1979 in his “Crisis of Confidence” speech to rise above materialism:

“In a nation that was so proud of hard work, strong families, close-knit communities, and our faith in God, too many of us now tend to worship self-indulgence and consumption. Human identity is no longer defined by what one does, but by what one owns."

We need honest evaluation from our leaders and show us the way. After all, you’re our leaders and you’re suppose to lead the country by example in justice and critical thinking! Holding real democratic debate that results in enhanced perspectives, compromise and flow needs to be the urgent focus in Congress putting personal and party interests aside to focus on our bewildered, struggling citizens. As a nation searching for security, we must instill hope and back it up on solid ground. Will poverty be that re-vitalization giving a renewed sense of vigor and purpose.

A logical place to start with policy is minimum wage. Pay the employees on the front lines more of the profits so the idea of living wages can become a reality and actually benefit our citizens in a very real way instead of remaining an unbeneficial idea. What harm is there in making a 20% less when it revolutionizes poverty and gives hope to millions. Hoarding the wealth at the top means for every dollar I make the CEO makes $10,000. Can we stand to reduce that gap or is it unthinkable? We need this as a national debate. Our rates of disparity are alarming as previously demonstrated and is growing. Free enterprise, as it turns out isn’t democratic nor free.

Put simply, we can achieve anything as a nation working together. When Congress prioritizes something, it gets done. When Congress was confronted with a bill that delayed air travel, they struck it down swiftly and unanimously as it effected them. When the military needs funds for Iraq and Afghanistan, every year from 2003-2010 they were funded totalling over 1 trillion. When the auto industry, banks etc asked for a bailout costing more than 600 billion, we swiftly helped them despite the fact they were the reason they were failing. It is documented that some of the bailout money was spent to retain vacation plans and company retreats speaking to the ubiquitous corruption but this isn’t the point. Now the American people are asking for you, our leaders, to take a stand against this disparity that exists across the board and do the ethical and truly economic thing: stand up for human equality. If we cannot do this for our fellow hard working citizens, then what will become of us?

As demonstrated in history over and over, a time comes when a civilization begins to decline. Every empire comes to an end, especially shortsighted societies catering to greedy and powerful rulers. Will inequality be the spark the burned America or a democratic enlightenment? Many educated thinkers are noting America is reaching a tipping point and our policies will determine our future success or downfall. United we stand, divided we fall.
 

Steven_R

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Dear Congress:

Fuck You.

Sincerely,
Steven_R
 

Jackson

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Thomas Jefferson wrote a letter a fraction of the length that started a new world.

You wrote 55 paragraphs, my man. "Edit" is your friend.
 

BobPlumb

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Thomas Jefferson wrote a letter a fraction of the length that started a new world.

You wrote 55 paragraphs, my man. "Edit" is your friend.
I agree, way too long. I didn't get through all the background statements in the beginning.
 
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gnarlylove

gnarlylove

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thanks all. hell, i didn't even think anyone had replied! btw, it was sent long ago to several including Pelosi, and a few Ohio senators. No reply from them what a surprise!

I've written a letter since then and its 3 pages so it's coming down! The problem with this one was to broad a topic for the audience. clearly a dissertation is not intended to be read by anyone by the self lol
 

Steven_R

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It's not the length that's the issue. The problem is your letter just doesn't matter. Unless you can write a big enough campaign contribution check or are a lobbyist or some kind of party big shot, your representatives just don't care what you say or think.
 
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gnarlylove

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I think that sometimes but at the same time if people like ourselves decide government is unmovable then corporations gain an even greater edge: the edge that no one is challenging bad decisions and policy.

My idea was to gather letters like this from all across the country and bike to washington to live homeless and lobby like mad. i'd imagine our voice would stand to get heard but if we do not unite such possibilities are unreal.
 
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gnarlylove

gnarlylove

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i read somewhere that 90 percent of the time when a congress member is undecided on an issue they use personal letters from real people.
 

Moonglow

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i read somewhere that 90 percent of the time when a congress member is undecided on an issue they use personal letters from real people.
Congressional members rarely see their mail.Their staff members do. Striking a chord of interest is tough and wordy letters will bore the reader that is overloaded with muchas mail already.
Try to address the Congressional member in a fashion that is respectful and polite, yet in the body of the letter firmly address the issue with a few as words as possible while maintaining effectiveness.

The letter should begin with:
My esteemed Congressperson. I hoped I helped.
 
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gnarlylove

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Good tips. I tried to be polite but it gets muddled with so many words. I wonder if calling is more effective than letters or if emails are less effective than handwritten letters...
 

Jackson

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I have gotten responses, but I am not naïve enough to think it is from the representative himself. I usually ask a question in the body of the letter to make certain I do not get a routine response letter.
 

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