By James Clingman
An article published on nky.com, titled, “Running for Senate not job for paupers, stated: “The average household in the United States has a net worth of $69,000, but the average wealth of a U.S. senator is about $12 million, according to statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau and Center for Responsive Politics.” To me, it illustrated the fact that we are far removed from the original intent of serving in Congress. No longer are “regular” people going off to serve for a few years and returning home to their jobs as farmers, shopkeepers, and factory workers, and the like.
Washington, D.C. has become a veritable money pit, and candidates are doing and saying some of the dirtiest hypocritical things in order to set up residence there. At the likely prospect of becoming millionaires, it’s no wonder those running for office are quite willing to forget about “the people” and get to work immediately to maintain their lucrative jobs in Congress. They spend more time running and campaigning than they do governing, and they end up staying in their positions for ridiculously long periods of time, which is why we have such dysfunction in Congress.
But there is also a high level of dysfunction among “the people” because we are the ones who elect and keep them in office, despite their horrendous record of working on our behalf. They become multi-millionaires and we keep losing ground economically. You would think, in light of the current debate over raising the minimum wage and the sad financial situations affecting a huge number of American families, “the people” would decide to do something about the disparity and the utter disregard some of these nouveau poverty pimps have for us.
Now let’s be real here. It takes two to tango, right? If some of our elected officials are pimps, what does that make us? You know the word, no need to say it here. Question is, “Why do we allow ourselves to be treated this way?” We are obviously mesmerized by what we perceive as “royalty” and celebrity in this country, but to allow our penchant for person-worship to bleed over into the political arena is very dangerous – and we are seeing the results of having done that for so long. We respond to some of our politicians in ways that mimic idol worship, and pay them quite well in the process.
Since award shows are in vogue now, we should have a Political Players Ball and give an award for the best “playa.” They could dress in their best playa outfits – pinstripe suits with red or blue ties, that is, and strut their stuff down the runway while they rattle off their promises and claims, and tell us how bad they feel for the poor and for disabled veterans. Of course, the one who has the most money would have a leg up on the competition and would probably get the most votes for “Political Playa of the Year.”
Amos Wilson wrote, “The irrational economy of…America, based as it is on irrational consumption, requires a high level of impulsivity and economic stupidity in its population, all the more in its lower classes and subordinated African American population.” Of course, Wilson was referring to economic empowerment and the lack thereof within our ranks, but the same principle applies to political empowerment, not only for Black voters but for the entire U.S. electorate.
This nation’s elite relies and thrives on the necessary “stupidity” of consumers and the electorate to keep them in their positions of power. Political pimps, with an average wealth of $12 million versus $69,000 for those over whom they rule, are definitely slapping us around and making us pay them for doing so. What’s that famous line Huggy Bear and other pimps used to say? “…better have my money.”
I encourage the bi-polar electorate and the blind consumers to be more aware and active around these issues. If we act like sheep, we will be treated like sheep, right? We must stop getting so fired up about politicians who are only interested in having a sweet job as a result of our voting for them. We must stop being so emotional about politics and start being more practical. We major in the minors and get fighting mad because someone calls our President a name, and we spend an inordinate amount of time allowing the talking heads to stir the flames, which keeps our attention diverted from important issues. President Obama is a multi-millionaire too; believe me, he is not the least bit concerned about folks calling him names. He and his family are going to be just fine. What about you and your family?
Stop working for the political pimps; they are supposed to be working for us.
Jim Clingman, founder of the Greater Cincinnati African American Chamber of Commerce, is the nation’s most prolific writer on economic empowerment for Black people. He is an adjunct professor at the University of Cincinnati and can be reached through his Web site, blackonomics.com.