For the last thirteen years I have traveled fulltime in a motorhome, seldom staying in one place for longer than a month, and often moving on after only one night’s stay. One of the things I like most about my lifestyle is that I get to talk to people from all walks of life, in every corner of the country, and I make it a point to do so.

From waitresses in small diners on the back roads of the Midwest, to long haul truckers I meet at the fuel islands of truck stops, to small business owners from Arizona to Minnesota, and retirees whose careers included anything and everything, I always enjoy getting to know these people, and talking to them one on one.

The one thing that stands out to me, and has for years now, is that no matter who I am talking to, and no matter where I meet them or what their station in life is, they all seem to be fed up with the state our country is in, and they all seem to have a feeling that there is nothing they, or anybody else, can do about it.

And this isn’t something that has only been going on during the Obama presidency. I remember talking to a waitress in Bowling Green, Kentucky years ago who told me that she and her husband were both working two jobs, and still could not afford health insurance. She said the company her husband worked for had closed down, they were in danger of losing their home, and they knew they could never retire. “But what can you do?” she asked, shrugging her shoulders. “Nobody in Washington cares about us little people out in the real world.”

Three years ago I talked to an old Army buddy who told me that his company had just declared bankruptcy and he had lost all of his benefits, including his retirement. He said he was going to have to work unit he died. “It’s always been the same way,” he told me, “the rich get richer, and the poor get screwed.”

I had a cousin who went to work for  a hospital right out of high school, and worked there until deteriorating health forced her to stop working when she was in her mid-50s. The hospital had been acquired by a succession of different companies over the years, and with each new owner, a little more was chipped away from the employees’ retirement plans. My cousin discovered that if she could not qualify for some disability due to her health issues, she would not have enough coming in to even pay her rent.

Another cousin worked for the police department in a major city, and was forced to retire when crippling arthritis made it impossible for her to work. This is someone who started working when she was still in high school, and never was unemployed. She did not want to to retire, but with her twisted fingers and feet, she could not continue to work. The pittance she receives is enough for her to barely squeak by, if she lives very frugally. Meanwhile, over the years, the city’s health insurance plan has been whittled away until she could not even afford the co-pay on the many prescription medications her doctors prescribe.  

At a craft fair in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan a couple of weeks ago, I got into a conversation with a man who told me that he had worked for an electronics company near Detroit for 25 years, and then they moved their operation overseas. He was finding that, at age 55, with two kids in college, there were no jobs available that would even come close to allowing him to maintain the lifestyle he and his family were accustomed to, let alone continue paying college tuition. He was another victim of corporate greed, and a company that turned its back on loyal employees to save a buck by going offshore. He said he felt betrayed, and well he should!   

Just last week, my wife’s sister told the family that her 401K funds had all but disappeared in the last few weeks’ stock market plunges. She works for a major defense contractor, and in her early 50s is wondering just what the hell happened to her American dream.

I have heard the same stories over and over again for years, and I keep hearing them. People are pissed off, they feel betrayed, and no matter who’s in office, nothing ever gets better.

These are not lazy people! These are not stupid people that blew their money at some casino or lived beyond their means. These are hardworking Americans who paid their taxes, played by the rules all of their lives, and still got screwed.

They got screwed during the Bush administration, and they are getting screwed during Obama’s administration. Why? Because we have a system that ignores the working middle class, the very people who keep America working. It doesn’t matter if the people in Washington are Democrats or Republicans, none of them are taking care of the people who elected them.

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Those words are the preamble to the United States Constitution, one of the most sacred documents in the history of mankind. But aren’t we the people those words were written about? What ever happened to our domestic tranquility? To our general welfare? To our posterity? Don’t we the people still deserve the things our forefathers tried to insure us with those words?

The road we’ve been going down for the last few decades is turning out to be a dead end. Maybe it’s time for we the people to take control of the wheel and control of our fate. Because the idiots we have in the driver’s seat now are drunk, blind, and stupid! 

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32 Comments on Aren’t We The People?

  1. Jim@HiTek says:

    I’m still an optimist. I just wonder what happened to that big thing I learned in grade school in the ’50’s about the American Republic – compromise. Where did it go?

  2. Jill Taylor says:

    What has happened to this country is nothing short of criminal! My parents raised me to believe in the American Dream. Then, two years before he was eligible for retirement, my father’s company decided to cut their overhead by getting rid of all of the older, more experienced (and closer to retirement) employees. It was heartbreaking to see a proud hard working man reduced to accepting food stamps. My brother and I both played by all of the rules, worked hard, paid taxes that went up each year, and then we both watched our investments disappear, the value of the equity in our homes melt away, and our futures dwindle down to nothing. Meanwhile the bandits in Washington feed on our very lifeblood. And you are right, it is not a Democrat or Republican thing. Nobody in charge cares a tinker’s damn for the taxpaying American citizen! I know your words or my words will not change a thing, but thank you for letting me vent!

  3. Butch Williams says:

    Nick,
    Not everybody must be as fed up with the situation as your interviewees.

    If they were, how would most of the same people get re-elected term after term after term?

    It seems that we only get new faces in Washington (other than the mandatory 2 term maximum presidency) when somebody dies.

    The lack of term limits is the only error the drafters of our Constitution made (in my opinion), but they could not envision our world of professional, lifetime politicians.

    SHAME ON US AS WE THE PEOPLE!

    Butch

  4. Jon Ensminger says:

    Is this a reason for the start of the “Tea Party”, even though that has not worked the way that it should? Just to many present politicians are taking up the title of “Tea Party’ and doing status quo in Washington. In other words they change faces and continue business as usual. I always said that any and all politicians are there to put their hand in you wallet. At this time I have no answer less than a complete cleaning inside the beltway.

  5. Denise Gray says:

    Nick, you said it so well.

  6. ron says:

    Butch hit it. we have the govt that “we the people” wanted
    The problem is we depend way too much on govt and corporate handouts.

  7. Dave B. says:

    We the people are getting the shaft because of the people around us. It’s not someone else. Look to your left and your right. The company that just took away your benefits is headed by the person next to you. The politician that keeps spending excess tax dollars came from your neighborhood and was elected by you. The truth is, no one cares about his neighbor. If a person can get ahead in life, nothing else matters. It’s all about me. Now that thinking is going to hurt “me.”

  8. squirrel says:

    Nick,
    You are correct. The problems we have are very serious but the root cause of the problems is the system itself. What we are watching ( in the name of citizenship) is a shell game or three card monty on a street corner. While we are being distracted arguing about the economy, war, taxes etc our pockets are being picked. When you get into a discussion or argument over a problem you have already lost the argument because the results have already been controlled. The system was set up by lawyers, for the benefit of lawyers and the lawyers do not have to take responsibility for the results of their actions. 97% of legislators are lawyers. Lawyers manipulate words to get the results they want, again, with no regard to the consequences. They are totally without morals and do not care which side on an argument they take. They will benefit either way! This is why people must come to the realization that BOTH SIDES are equally guilty.
    Until we start to address the root cause we will continue to be fleeced by these scum.

  9. Dave K says:

    Holly smokes Bad Nick hit the nail on the head again…

    common sense is DEAD…Where are all these voters at election time that are fed up with the status quo..They keep putting the same CROOKS in office term after Term as we all see.
    Come the Revolution>>>We could change all that if we had the belly for it. GREED RULES !!!!

  10. Christine says:

    Remember that good sense, logical thinking and a solid understanding of the historical details and cause and effect is harder to find out here in the hinterlands. Reacting emotionally to trigger issues and or isolated distorted “facts” leaves little room for compromise and creates a lot of smoke and mirrors behind which masses can be manipulated for the benefit of corporations, individual interests and those that already have power and money. Influencing perceptions and minds is a multi-million dollar business regardless of what you call it. (ie: spin Doctors/king making/advertising)

    I have no problem with cutting the “fat” but it seems that we are cutting off body parts and thinking that the intervention can take the part of a good exercise plan. The only way to “create jobs” and improve the economy is to raise some taxes from those that can actually pay it and leave some money in the pockets of those that will actually spend it. Listen to Warren B. No one or no company creates jobs unless there is a demand for their products or services.

    One voter’s opinion.

  11. Connie Bradih says:

    Just something to put into perspective about the USA. We just came back from a 30 day Scandinavian trip. Guess what? The highest standard of living, best medical system, the best prices for fuel and food, etc is not in Europe, it is here in the USA. We, the USA, has the best standard of living in the world.

    And I would like to keep it that way. What is so wrong right now is that all the politicians are elected, go to Washington, play politics and me, me, me. I actually remember the day when COMPROMISE between Republicans and Democrats was the rule instead of the exception. They did it for the good of the country.

    So what’s the solution? For each of us to become active. Support and elect candidates who not only talk the talk but walk the walk of what you want to happen to this country. Until the American people as a whole realize you can’t let someone else solve the problem but that the problem and solution lies with each one of us, nothing will change. One vote does matter. Your vote and your active support of the right kind of candidate will change this country. Otherwise just welcome 2nd world then 3rd world status for the USA.

  12. art in phoenix says:

    Be careful Bad Nick, those veins in your neck are sticking out again!

  13. bucky says:

    I agree with most of the above Nick, but I also think that over the years the American public, just like the Romans became to involved in profesional sports. Over the years, I have seen American men who worship all the players on their local sports teams, but did not know who was picking their pocket at home. I use to get very agrivated with neighbors and friends, who would ask me who they should vote for…………

  14. Linda Sand says:

    Maybe we need to publish baseball cards for politicians. List their stats. Make them collectable and tradable. Publish results of confrontations in the paper everyday in a sports format. Hold lots of debates and declare winners and losers. Sell tickets to meetings of the legislatures. Compare one state’s stats to another states stats. Figure out who our all-stars are. Get the public interested in who it is that’s representing them in our government.

    If every politician knew his/her stats would be published on their cards, would they make the same decisions? I think they thrive on us not being involved enough to realize what they are doing.

  15. Rex says:

    I beg each of you to never ever vote for an incumbent. Until we the people teach the politicians that they will answer to the American voter, nothing will change.

  16. Claire Rossbach says:

    My motto is NO LIDs! No Lawyers; no Incumbants; no Democrats. That doesn’t leave me with very many options though, does it? So within that motto I, at least, can narrow down the choices then back up and pick what feels to me like the best choice!

    However, I still can’t figure out why the restaurants are so crowded!

  17. Dale says:

    Rex- to just vote against someone because they are an incumbent is not the answer. Have they compromised or tried to compromise? This is how so many tea party reps got in – people just voted against incumbents without looking past the immediate satisfaction of getting even with their current representative.

    It is important to get the facts (and not just believe everything you hear on a TV commentary show) and then decide who would best represent your interests. That is a start.

    Linda Sand: Love your idea.

  18. Marty says:

    Oh yes, the Tea Party!!! This year in Florida, as well as Mi., and other states and of course DC, we’ll seeing the results of blind faith. The very 1st Tea Party movement was because of unfair taxes for WE THE PEOPLE. Now, this Tea Party movement isn’t for WE THE PEOPLE, but We the Major Business CEO who wants to pay as little tax as possible, regardless of the results to the working middle class.

  19. Rob Fox says:

    “We the people”. What finer starting point could be imagined.

    It was not an image that just come out of the blue. It had come out of some very serious consideration about the general organisation of peoples in order to achieve the fairest and just opportunities in life.

    The enlightenment movement had voiced the concerns of the oppressed ordinary people who were ruled by authoritarian structures of kings, governments and church. They argued that self interested parties created laws that were against “natural law”. They were essentially suppressing “the people” for their own gain. There was a corruption of natural justice for the benefit of a few.

    Every time I look into the events leading up to the American Revolution, I am struck by the incredible thought and human intellect on display. (If only we could see that in civic society today.) They knew that their opportunity was to start a better place. They had their eyes wide open and clearly saw the prize and the pitfalls.

    We should, however, not be too starry eyed. The powers of self interest are never far from an opportunity and they have been there, hard at work, from the beginning.

    So here “We the people” find ourselves in 2011 and, quite frankly, the situation is frighteningly similar. Increasingly people feel less free, less in control of their own lives and under represented.

    Instead of a repressive king or church, you have the new horders of wealth and power. They control the mega corporations, the investment banks, governments and, to an increasing extent, you and me.

    The finest experiment in democratic government is at a crucial point in its evolution. America is a mature industrial democracy. Much like the British had to watch a new power come to eminence, the USA now watches the resurrection of China and the growth of India.

    To the mercenary men of wealth, these lands represent opportunity and, for the last 20 years, they have been rushing to the new frontier. This has been at the expense of US investment and jobs.

    I am sad to say that we are all somewhat complicit in this reshaping. Look around you. Where was that tv, iPod or computer made? Where were the components for your car made? (even if it was assembled in the USA)

    “We the people” have allowed this decline. Ok, don’t feel too bad now. “We the people” didn’t allow it deliberately. “We” were just over come by the heady feelings of success and relative prosperity provided by the post WW2 period. “We” became distracted and took our collective eye off the ball.

    “We” end up with a government and institutions that, whilst claiming to represent “We the people”, are clearly under the control of a small but exceedingly powerful section of society.

    This corruption of civic life is not confined to a single party. Just look at how much time and effort is made by all political figures (local and national) to raise election funds. The power follows the money. If it looks like a pig, smells like a pig …… it’s a pig.

    Like many, I feel helpless. Least of all because I am a visitor here to your fine country and ironically pay taxation with NO representation.

    I see this challenge as a test of democracy itself. “We the people” have to stand together and demand that the elected government truly is representative of “We the people”.

    There has be lots of talk about upsetting the “status quo”. Maybe this recognises that both major parties are “infected”.

    However, the loudest talk I hear is that of anti-government.

    On that, all I can say is that there is nothing more beloved by kings and tyrants than “no government”.

    No, the answer is for “We the people” to come together and once again have pride in their truly representative government.

    In a true democracy, “We the people” and the government are one in the same thing.

  20. nona prreble says:

    why don’t we have a tent city of protest at each state capital?maybe that would get some attention.i,t sure does in isareal.lets try something like it here.

  21. George R. Neilsen says:

    We desperately need to get rid of the two party systems, and I just don’t see how that will ever happen. Somebody just said above not to vote for Democrats, but as the original blog pointed out, this has been going on for decades. Yes, it is worse now, but any avalanche picks up momentum as it goes downhill, and this avalanche started a long time ago! Obama has proven he is worthless, and that he has his own agenda, no matter what the American people want. But Bush was no better. Or Clinton. Or the first Bush. They and every one of the congressmen and senators are out for themselves and what will further their careers, not what the citizens want. Short of citizens picking up arms and forcibly taking back control of the government, which we all know will never happen, what is the answer?

  22. Linda says:

    The ones in office may be drunk, blind and stupid, but they had the money to run for office and we the people don’t. That’s why we the people get screwed every time. The really well off look out for each other and the hell with the rest of us. Our role in life, as they see it, is to work hard and make them richer as long as we are able & then we are discarded. The thought has never entered their heads that we can’t live on a few hundred dollars a month.

    Our government officials would much rather give out our hard earned billions as aid to other countries rather than just tell them we have our own people to take care of & can no longer afford the handouts. They want to look like big cheeses, but instead the regimes taking in the money think they’re all fools. It’s way past time to start taking care of our own. And by our own I mean the working people, the retirees and the really sick or disabled. We need to quit throwing money at lazy bums, druggies, drunks and unwed mothers who don’t have enough sense to quit having babies. The first one might be considered a mistake, after that it’s just stupidity or playing the system.

    We the people can vow to make changes all we want to, but as long as running for office and getting elected is all based on who has the most money for campaigning we will get exactly what we have always had.

  23. Bob Miller says:

    The problem is the American people are SHEEP just following along and OSTRICH with there head in the sand.

  24. Ed Sancranz says:

    I was a lifelong Republican, but I got so fed up and disgusted with the lack of leadership and the way our country was going downhill, so I voted for Obama, truely hoping for the change he promised. But what little change there has been has all been for the worse. So now what? I just want to give up. I am 76 years old and I am glad I probably won’t live another 20 years.

  25. Patricia Crowley says:

    Thanks Nick for expressing what so many of us are feeling in this country. I have worked since the age of 15, worked while I raised my children, did everything right, and now I feel screwed.

    We are 59, self-employed & can barely afford health insurance. ($14,000/yr).

    As I try to figure out how to invest retirement funds, I feel like I need a PhD. How and when did that happen? (Never got the memo).

    Kids, it’s TIME to take our country back and stop the greed. Let’s boot ’em all out & start over.

    This mess doesn’t pass the smell test. The people “in charge” don’t care about “we the people”, not one bit. As proven, all they care about is THEMSELVES.

    ::doesn’t run with scissors:: :shares well:: ::not too greedy:: ::i got your back::

    Future Fulltime RVer, ready to give up “STUFF” for happiness :)

  26. Pam G says:

    I think a big part of the problem is that fact that the RICH make the laws! If you let rich guys make tax laws…who the heck do you think they are give the majority of the tax burden to…their RICH buddies? Haha!?

  27. Darrell says:

    Lord Have Mercy!!!!

  28. Bill Daines says:

    I say take away all the political contributions. Make it an equal playing field. All candidates get the same amount to run their campaign, period. No one can outmatch the other, So if you are wealthy it doesnt mean didly. All candidates get equal time, and money. Then maybe we can get some normal folk in GOVERNMENT !!! And get back to the saying we the people.
    Bill.

  29. Fred Hammer says:

    Simple question:

    If you can answer this correctly, you can answer the question on what action to take on raising the Federal debt ceiling.

    You come home from work and find there has been a sewer backup and you have sewage up to your ceiling.

    What do you do?……raise the ceiling, or pump out the crap?

    Thought so……pass it on

  30. Paul Stough says:

    Fred- You are full of what is up to the ceiling.

    More later,
    Paul

  31. Carol J. says:

    Thanks Nick for articulating what so many of us are feeling these days! When you find a solution to getting our politicians to listen to “us the people,” sign us up too.
    Until then, we are not voting for any incumbent–shaking them up may be the only way for the pols to start listening to and respecting us voters! They shouw us such blatant disrepect–and we relect them. Guess who hasn’t learned the lesson???

  32. Tony Hodd says:

    With the current percentage of Americans exercising their right to vote do you get the ideas that politicians don’t really care what you think. Check out the link.
    (http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0781453.html)
    The only way to get change is to get maximum participation, complacency won’t make any changes.

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