Congress was an ingenious, perhaps even inspired, compromise. It was conceived to be the place where elected representatives of the people could meet to discuss and debate ideas in conflict, and shape and smooth and polish those ideas into public policies for the benefit of the people who elected them.
Congress has become corrupt. “Public policies for the benefit of the people” is no longer the purpose, nor even the goal of Congress. The first purpose of Congress is to gain and retain the control of congressional power. No issue or public need takes precedence over this purpose.
Congress has devised rules and procedures that are used to avoid debate and prevent opposing views and ideas. A perfect example of this corruption is the current gridlock over the issue of energy.
No domestic issue is more urgent than the skyrocketing price of energy. The nation must have a reliable supply of affordable energy. Rather than confronting this obvious need and welcoming all ideas for discussion and debate, those people currently in control of power gather their partisans in private to plot strategies to advance their own solutions. They have no interest in hearing the ideas of the minority party, who represent nearly half of the people. They have no interest is finding a solution to the problem. They are only interested in prevailing, and appearing to “do something” before the election.
Whatever their plan turns out to be, they will likely attach it to an omnibus appropriations bill so that a vote against the bill can be ridiculed as an effort to shut down the government. This gamesmanship with the public trust is the worst kind of corruption. It is precisely what the current leadership condemned when the Republicans were in power.
Were Congress populated with statesmen, rather than self-serving politicians, all ideas relating to the energy crisis would be welcomed. Each idea would be discussed and debated and eliminated or advanced by a public vote in full view of the electorate.
Eventually, only the best ideas would survive, and the best possible solution would be adopted. This is what Congress is supposed to do.
Congress, though, is a reflection of the population at large. It is unrealistic to expect Congress to be any better than the people who elect them. Elections are driven by public relations campaigns, sound bites, and activist organizations. Character, political philosophy, and positions on issues are rarely a part of the decision process for most voters. To most voters, candidates are the product presented in the media. This is why candidates spend millions on polishing their image rather than on explaining their positions on the great issues of the day.