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Brian Richards: The death of common sense

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Posted: September 21, 2010 4:55 a.m.
Updated: September 21, 2010 4:55 a.m.

The subject of my column is the name of one of my favorite books and it seems particularly apt today: "The Death of Common Sense."

I'm 47 years old and I have a significant interest in the governance of America and to a slightly lesser extent, our state.

Over the last 20 years, the polarization of our people has grown to a degree I consider to be profound.

It seems Americans can no longer accept that a member of an opposing party can be a great leader, and someone who can serve the best interests of America. While I did not actively support former President Bill Clinton, I look back at him today with a degree of fondness. Clinton had some controversial faults, but all presidents have them.

While I did support former President George W. Bush, I look back at him with a great deal of hostility.

I did not support President Barack Obama, but I was hopeful that he could deliver on his words - naively so it appears.

I am a conservative and a supporter of the tea party. However, I respect people like Russ Feingold and Dennis Kucinich because they are principled individuals that occasionally buck their national party.

I respect the fact that Kucinich voted against Iraq, but so did Ron Paul, whom I strongly admire.

The point I'm trying to make is that Americans become attached to their party like it's a football team. We won and you lost, so we're better.

But do Americans know that the political system is tied to special interests and not to the people? They say Wall Street belongs to Republicans, but anyone with any knowledge knows Wall Street bets red, black and green so it can't lose. I hate to say it, but are Americans so ignorant that when Democrats say that Republicans are the party of Wall Street, they actually believe it?

We all know that big industry, big labor and big environment and other "bigs" throw their money at the party they think will deliver the most money to them. But the price of this is that the average person, the average family and the average small business gets the shaft.

As we've seen with the mortgage crisis, big industry doesn't care about us. As we've seen with the pension crisis, big labor doesn't care about us. As we've seen in too many examples to list, big environment cares more about a snail than family farmers producing affordable food for Americans in California's Central Valley. Has anyone driven the Central Valley lately and seen what is going on?

I'm an average person with an average family and an average small business. I could go on for hours about how the death of common sense is ruining this country, and it starts with being married to a party. Are we not tired of the dysfunction that is happening in California? Well, who has been in charge lately in California? If it were Republicans and we were in this mess, you can rest assured I would vote against every one of them.

You may infer that this is primarily an anti-incumbent opinion, and you would be somewhat correct. The founders intended for our "leaders" to serve on behalf of the country and then go home, not get rich or retire with a six-figure consulting job.

With very few exceptions, I cannot support any incumbent and I cannot support the system where they are continually voted into office like kings and queens. This includes our own representative in Washington, D.C.

It is the people who have the power to change this, and despite how wacky Sharron Angle is, I fully support her efforts to defeat Harry Reid in Nevada. For those who think I'm partisan, nobody was happier to see Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, get beat, and for Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho to go. Sen. David Vitter, R-La., can go as well, as far as I'm concerned. I would rather have a honorable Democrat than a hypocritical Republican, despite my leanings.

I would urge all Americans to ditch their "team" and vote for the person you think is best and, absent that, vote against a career incumbent who thinks they are entitled to the position that we bestow upon them.

"Hope and Change" was one of the greatest frauds ever perpetuated upon America, much like "I'm a uniter, not a divider." Make them cooperate or fire them.

Brian Richards is a Stevenson Ranch resident. His column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal.


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