There was an interesting article in the Washington Post recently that I’m sure escaped the notice of most people but I found it to be an illuminating illustration of why the public takes such a dim view of Congress. In a nutshell, the U.S. Senate reluctantly decided to turn over operation of its network of restaurants to a private firm after losing over $18 million since 1993, an estimated $2 million of which was lost last year alone. The vote took place lateat night because they were embarrassed by the irony of ranting loudly and publicly against privatization of government operations by the executive branch, yet being forced to hire out their own restaurant services because they were so poorly run that taxpayers had to bail them out for over four decades. The Senate restaurant network turned a profit in only seven of its 44 years of operation, a pathetic waste of our tax dollars.
Archive for June, 2008
History was made last week. Senator Barack Obama, the eloquent and charismatic junior U.S. Senator from Illinois, became the first black person nominated by a major political party as their candidate for President of the United States. The significance of this milestone cannot be overstated. The black experience in America is unique; no other group in this country has endured nearly 400 years of indentured servitude, slavery, domestic terrorism and institutionalized discrimination at the hands of one nation, particularly one founded on the revolutionary principles of equality and liberty. Courageous men and women of all races have labored throughout history to expunge this stain from the parchment of America’s founding documents, and we have come far indeed. The symbolism of a black man within months of ascending to the leadership of the most powerful nation in the world, a nation which in my lifetime instituted barriers preventing blacks from voting for any office, much less the Presidency, is enormous. In fact, no black person has ever taken the reins of leadership in a developed Western nation, so the fact this could happen in America is a great tribute to our maturity as we strive toward a more perfect union. It speaks volumes to the world and to our own people about our determination to live up to our ideals.
So why am I so conflicted? (more…)