The Pew Research Center today released a word cloud taken from one-word responses people gave of their reaction to Congress.
Pew explains, "Shortly before the House vote, the Pew Research Center asked Americans to provide the one word that best describes their current impressions of Congress. The results were overwhelmingly negative. Of those offering a response, 86% said something negative while just 4% gave a positive one-word description. The three most frequently offered terms were dysfunctional (21 people offered this), corrupt (20) and some version of selfish (19). Many of the words reflected perceptions that Congress has been unable or unwilling to enact legislation (inept, confusing, gridlock, etc.)."
It was a little comforting, actually. It's why you have support groups...you get to find out that other people are feeling the same way that you do and while that doesn't solve anything, it certainly validates your own feelings.
I don't agree with all the words in the cloud. I would make "crooks" a little smaller, for example. Only some of them are actual indicted crooks. But I certainly would applaud "Dysfunctional," "incompetent" "ineffective" and "disappointing" (and most of the rest of the words).
I really shouldn't watch the news any more, but there is a compulsion to see what is going on. But I can't remember the last time I turned on the news at 4 p.m. that I wasn't fighting tears before Jeopardy provides a blessed relief at 6:30.
I have the feeling that the country I have loved for so many years (except when it does bad things -- VietNam and waterboarding, for two) seems to be gone. In its place there is this hard core fundamentalist religious, money-grubbing country where it is more important to keep taxes low for the upper income-earners than it is to provide consumer protection for the rest of us. A society where one side has expressed a determination to ruin a president on the day of his inauguration -- and has systematically continued to do it.
Have you see the comparison with how many bills have been passed in congress over the past few years? Under Pelosi during the 110th congress 308 bills were passed. Under Pelosi during the 111th congress 254 bills were passed. Under Boehner in the 112th congress as of the end of July, 12 bills had been passed and they expect to maybe pass 48 by the end of the session. Is this why you sent a representative from your state to Congress?
The Republicans are so determined that nothing Obama wants will pass that they refused to approve the wonderful Elizabeth Warren to head the newly formed Department of Consumer Protection, and then refused to approve Obama's second selection, former Ohio Attorney General Richard Corday (who has Warren's 100% approval) and even refused to adjourn congress during its vacation so that Obama couldn't make a adjournment appointment.
Who the HELL in congress disapproves of an organization that is going to protect the consumer???
They almost didn't fully fund the FAA. Reuters reported, "The standoff, which began on July 22, centered on partisan differences over full funding of the agency through the middle of next month.
In addition to idled construction projects, the gridlock allowed airlines to stop collecting more than $30 million per day in ticket taxes, leaving a hole in government revenue for aviation priorities but giving carriers a big windfall."
Why is it that all of these standoffs end up with "giving XXX a big windfall"? And why was that big windfall more important than safety for the rest of us who fly?
Where is the windfall for the rest of us who aren't gazillionaires?
Look, I'm willing to admit that I am not as excited about President Obama as I was about Candidate Obama, but I know that a big part of his problem is that he has zero support from the Republican side of Congress and there has been nothing to stonewalling and roadblocks, which means that he can't even try to get his agenda started.
I really want to know what my friends, who are die-hard Republicans, who who don't own banks or airlines or other big corporations, but are just dumb schmucks like me trying to pay the bills each month, really feel about the Republican stalemates which have brought this country to a standstill (and the drop on Wall Street today sure shows how effective the debt ceiling "compromise" was, doesn't it? How do those brilliant minds in Congress figure that cutting trillions in spending but doesn't add a penny in income is going to solve our problem. And what difference does it make if industry can make more products if none of us, except the very rich, have any money to spend on them?)
I just want to go to bed and cry.