DE GRACIA: President Obama, Congress are clueless as America collapses

Who actually speaks for the average American these days? Photo: America is rapidly becoming a nation of have-nots. (AP File Photo)

HONOLULU, April 25, 2013 ― If the only people you listen to are politicians, you might actually believe that America is just one tax increase and a new budget away from total prosperity, income equality and free medical care for everyone. The amazing thing is they promised the exact same thing last year and the year before that (and the year before that!) but no tax increase or new round of spending ever seems to actually accomplish the goal of fixing the economy or making Americans more prosperous.

In November last year, it was clear that voters all across America were concerned about the worsening economy and the persistently frustrating job market that has left millions of highly qualified individuals underemployed or unemployed. We all knew in the 2012 election that “it’s the economy, stupid.” But instead of our representatives using their electoral mandates to deal with the economy and jobs, they’ve used the last four months as a legislative spree to make more things illegal and to impose more fiscal demands on the already strained back of American taxpayers.

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America has become a cruel, purgatory-like waiting room where people wait year after year for something good to break the cycle of dysfunction, only nothing good ever comes. In Washington, the solution to problems is to release optimistic agency reports that speak of quarter-of-a-percent change here and half-a-percent change there, but statistics mean nothing to a nation that is rapidly sharpening the divide between privileged haves and frustrated have-nots.

We are witnessing the rise of what I call Generation E ― “E” for exasperated ― a generation of people who as children were promised the American Dream, only to grow up into our present-day nightmare of crushing student debt, quixotic job markets that pass over talent, endless wars abroad and the emergence of a police state at home where nearly everything now is illegal.

We are living in a country where no one actually speaks or represents the good of the people. Americans want to talk about jobs, the spiraling cost of living and the fact that their savings are being destroyed by the Federal Reserve’s low interest rates. Washington on the other hand wants to crack down on the Internet, beta test indefinite detainment of U.S. citizens, put surveillance cameras everywhere and start new wars in the Middle East.

Like the Biblical story of Bethesda, where a crippled man waited year after year for an angel to stir the pool that he might step in the water to be healed, only for someone to push him out of the way, Americans are stuck waiting for stirs in Washington only to be pushed out of the way when it comes to seeking reform.

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America cannot endure long under these circumstances. The soul of our nation cannot remain bent under the growing weight of citizen frustration and political oppression. We need to make it our top priority to put an end to this cycle of dysfunction and defeat. President Obama and the Congress are fixated on all the wrong issues. Now is the time to stop arguing over meaningless issues that consume our time and to refocus on restoring America’s dying economy and fading liberties.

We have a responsibility to save America from entering history’s ash heap of failed nations and collapsed empires. Americans deserve better than a broken nation and a crushed generation.

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Danny de Gracia

Dr. Danny de Gracia is a political scientist and a former senior adviser to the Human Services and International Affairs committees at the Hawaii State Legislature. From 2011-2013 he served as an elected municipal board member in Waipahu. As an expert in international relations theory, military policy, political psychology and economics, Danny has advised numerous policymakers and elected officials and his opinions have been featured worldwide. Now working on his first novel, Danny resides on the island of Oahu.

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