The first time I wrote a letter to a sitting American president was when I lived in Taiwan. I have no idea now what prompted me to write President Johnson. But the reply I got was from his press secretary, Bill Moyers.
That reply may have been a standard letter sent to everybody who wrote the president. But to get any kind of reply encouraged me to think we might mean more to them than just another vote.
Bill Moyers, press secretary to President Lyndon B. Johnson, newspaper editor, documentary film maker and presently president of the Schumann Center for Media and Democracy, said the following in one of his recent talks:
“Look back at the bulk of legislation passed by Congress in the past decade: an energy bill which gave oil companies huge tax breaks at the same time that Exxon Mobil just posted $36.13 billion in profits in 2005 and our gasoline and home heating bills are at an all-time high; a bankruptcy ‘reform’ bill written by credit card companies to make it harder for poor debtors to escape the burdens of divorce or medical catastrophe; the deregulation of the banking, securities and insurance sectors which led to rampant corporate malfeasance and greed and the destruction of the retirement plans of millions of small investors; the deregulation of the telecommunications sector which led to cable industry price gouging and an undermining of news coverage; protection for rampant overpricing of pharmaceutical drugs; and the blocking of even the mildest attempt to prevent American corporations from dodging an estimated $50 billion in annual taxes by opening a P.O. box in an off-shore tax haven like Bermuda or the Cayman islands.”
That is one long litany of what our elected government servants have been doing to us. This news has been in our papers, but how many of us really take notice or want something better?
But more important is the context in which it was written. The United States is facing some real problems to which there are no easy answers. To find an answer, first know what the problem is. It is not a Republican or Democrat problem. It is a Constitution problem. Much of what Moyers’ is writing about stems from misuse of the constitutional powers of both the president and Congress.
The U.S. president is not a king or a dictator. He cannot have his every whim. Congress’ duty is to maintain oversight on the executive and judicial branches of government. There has been absolutely no oversight by Congress the past six years.
Had there been proper oversight, Iraq would not have been invaded; Iran and other countries would not have been labeled evil; the world would not hate our government as much as they do today.
A friend up in Washington State sent me an e-mail after Tuesday’s primary that sums up the feelings of many patriotic Americans fed up with corruption and arrogance in the White House and Congress. She wrote: “Can you believe DeLay got the GOP nomination? Those people down there in Houston must not read, or is the news coverage that bad in Texas?”
The news coverage in Texas is pretty good. Just not many people are reading the papers or even using the common sense God gave a goat.
Britt Towery, a retired Southern Baptist missionary, writes for the Brownwood Bulletin in Brownwood, Texas.