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Congressional "Reality Show"--Bread and Circuses...Again


By Paul E. Scates

If the only news you get is from the networks or the newspaper, you may think that the next great moment in U.S. history will be the passage of the Kennedy/McCain immigration bill, or some “compromise” version of it. Perhaps you’ve forgotten, though, that just a few months ago the news headlines were all about the impending bankruptcy of the Social Security system.

What have these two items to do with one another, you ask? Well, for the 12 million illegal immigrants currently in the U.S. (a more realistic, non-politically correct figure is 20 million or more), Social Security benefits will be available to them at retirement age. That’s only part of the estimated $2.5 Trillion this “compromise” will cost American taxpayers. And no, the immigrants have not paid one red cent into Social Security, nor have their elderly relatives, who will also be eligible.

Surely that can’t be true, you reason, for that would mean that our Congress is... what? The most appallingly mindless and stupid group yet assembled in history? So obsessed with their own continuation in power and the prestige and perquisites that go with it that they’re participating in the killing of the Golden Goose that sustains them, and us? Lying through their teeth to their constituents in order to push through their own political agenda, one they know would not be supported by the electorate if they honestly presented it? Well, they are not stupid.

Considering the American public has the political attention span of a three-year-old, however, you’re probably tired of hearing about the immigration bill. No problem, for there are plenty of other issues demanding serious, responsible action by our elected representatives, but with which they are being equally frivolous, self-serving or deceitful.

How about the threat of terrorists using nuclear weapons, either bought on the black market or devised by rogue scientists. It matters not if such scientists are motivated by ideology or the millions to which bin Laden, et al, have access (from our “friends” the Saudi regime, just to name one source), the result for Americans will be the same. Leaks from those same Saudis (their intelligence agency) says bin Laden now has 40 to 70 tactical nuclear weapons. Russian sources report that he bought 12 to 15 fully assembled nukes, the sale of which was facilitated by Chechnian rebels. Not to worry, though; after all, how could he possibly get those nukes into the U.S.?

Oh, yeah, there is that porous southern border thing, isn’t there? Well, you still shouldn’t worry too much...unless you live in or near New York, Washington, D.C., Las Vegas, Miami, Boston, Houston, or Los Angeles. Or your livelihood depends on an economy that would be not just impacted but devastated by nuclear detonations in even two or three of those cities. But hey...Congress clearly isn’t concerned about it, right...so why should we be? Nero, the Roman emperor who probably had the fire that destroyed Rome set, reportedly fiddled while it burned. He then tried to lay the blame for the fire on others (Christians, specifically). Will our distinguished and esteemed leaders in Congress more willingly admit their culpability and irresponsibility?

Don’t forget, we’re talking here about men and women who are insulated from the cares and problems with which most Americans contend daily. These are almost universally wealthy elites, most of whom have made a lifetime career of politics (that is, spending other people’s money to get themselves elected to offices where the primary activity is spending other people’s money on projects the majority don’t want, while ignoring real, sometimes desperate needs). Several have been in the Senate over 40 years, and well over 90% of incumbents in both houses of Congress are re-elected again and again, many with no opposition. “No taxation without representation” was the rallying cry for the American Revolution...what must those early patriots be thinking about the “representation” we’re receiving today from those in Washington, D.C.?

In late first century Rome, the poet Juvenal wrote: “...the People have abdicated our duties; for the People who once upon a time handed out military command, high civil office, legions ...everything, now restrains itself and anxiously hopes for just two things: bread and circuses.” Here’s a dictionary definition of that last phrase; can you see yourself...ourselves, this nation...in these words:

“‘Bread and circuses’ has come to be a derogatory phrase that can criticize either government policies to pacify the citizenry, or the shallow, decadent desires of that same citizenry. In both cases, it refers to low-cost, low-quality, high-availability food and entertainment that have become the sole concern of the People, to the exclusion of matters that the speaker considers more important: e.g. the Arts, public works projects, human rights, or democracy itself. The phrase is commonly used to refer to short-term government palliatives offered in place of a solution for significant, long-term problems.”

So keep watching “American Idol” and the other mindless TV offerings; keep accepting the pandering, contemptuous “explanations” for the lying, deceit and treasonous irresponsibility that passes for “government service” by career politicians; keep being distracted by the media’s next “crisis,” or the latest fluff story that has nothing to do with our liberties, economic opportunities or the welfare of this society. You, American citizen, have finally achieved equality with those of the vaunted Roman Empire...just before it was destroyed by barbarians from without. The barbarians’ victory, however, was made possible because “the People have abdicated our duties.”

The unimaginable has happened, the unthinkable has come to pass; the United State, the greatest human experiment of all, is nearing an end. I offer this epitaph: “Here lies the United States of America; born of courage, honor, blood and acknowledgment of Almighty God; raised to greatness by individual achievement, integrity and character; brought low and finally destroyed by material distractions, the People’s apathy and the demise of morality.” God bless America? A far more appropriate pleas is...God forgive us.


Formerly a liberal and an atheist, Paul E. Scates served as a Marine in Vietnam and is a lifelong student of American history, politics and culture. A former contributor to national website TooGoodReports.com, he writes his staunchly independent Conservative and informed Christian commentary for his fellow ordinary, working Americans, the “we, the people” who are ultimately responsible for preserving our Constitutional liberties. He welcomes your , pro or con.


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