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As I See It: Thoughts on power

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There is a regular writer of letters to the editor in the Brainerd Dispatch who occasionally asks the question when questioning actions of the Brainerd City Council, "Why won't they listen to us?"

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He then goes on to lament how the council is wasting money and doesn't seem to care whether or not the citizens support all its actions and so on.

I can provide a few perspectives in answering that question. The first is to go back to the Constitution and to point out that we have a representative form of government. We elect people to govern on our behalf.

In essence, we yield the power to make decisions to those we elect.

One would think that our elected officials would pay close attention to the voters and their inputs, but the truth is they don't have to. Now if they want to be re-elected, they should pay attention to the electorate. One of the big roadblocks is a lot of people in elected office arrive with an - often hidden - agenda, or they develop one in short order after being sworn in.

And, at the higher levels of government, there are so many constituencies vying for a politician's attention that their own political party and major donors are probably in front-row seats while the rest of us are in the third-level balcony.

The struggle for power is the major source of gridlock in our nation's capital and in some other locations. Too often it seems as if the politicians would rather accomplish nothing than to give their opponents a political victory. So many things are being lost in the ongoing struggle for power in Washington, D.C. This enables a demonstrably inept and corrupt administration to explain away every debacle, including the IRS' raw abuse of power, as "just politics!"

For example, the national debt keeps climbing and someday within many of our lifetimes, we will pay the piper ... and many others. Some of the dust has settled in regard to Obamacare, but the money to pay for it all is still somewhere - maybe in "the Cloud" along with much of our once-private information.

Congress has been AWOL while the president has emasculated the most powerful military in the world to pay the ever-increasing bills for the liberal-progressive social agenda.

At the local level we have politicians who vowed to save a significant amount of money by eliminating jobs and personnel and yet the net result was a significant increase in spending. I alluded to the fact that some politicians don't have to listen too closely to the citizens they represent. One of main reasons is, once elected, it's virtually impossible to remove them from office unless they are found guilty of malfeasance or other crimes. Recall of local politicians is next to impossible in Minnesota and the state attorney general's office just doesn't have the staff or time to be bothered with local matters.

Our political campaigns are more and more like broken records. Those who are out of power promise - if elected - to change everything from top to bottom. Spending will go down, productivity will go up, and everyone will have at least two chickens in their pot.

Those who are in power promise - if re-elected - to bring spending down, keep things running at the same peak efficiency as it is now, and they claim most of us already have one chicken in our pot and the other one is just around the corner.

There is no law that prevents any politician from lying, misrepresenting themselves and others, obfuscating or misleading anyone and everyone. Only an educated and informed electorate can change that situation and you can probably figure out how likely any improvement in that area will be.

Power, and the understanding on when where, and how to use it wisely, seldom go together.

One of the slogans of the Bolshevik Revolution was "Power to the People." Every one of us citizens has an enormous power in our vote - we just don't always understand when and how to use it wisely, either.

It should be an interesting Nov. 4 this year; I'm hoping for some more positive change ... for a change.

Well, that's the way I see it.

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