Among the ranks of the Tea Baggers, there have to be some who honestly are seeking accountability for the money that we send to Washington in taxes. We liberals also want our money spent wisely.
As a progressive, I feel that I was doubly cheated last night. I don’t need to run through the litany of problems facing the country, but when it comes to dealing with them, President Barack Obama and Senator Claire McCaskill were nowhere to be found. In fact they were making things worse.
President Obama was the guest of honor at a $2,400 a plate dinner at the downtown Renaissance Hotel in St. Louis for Claire McCaskill. Now we’re not talking about 2010; she’s not up for re-election this November; we’re talking about 2012.
An honest Tea Bagger would ask of a government employee to spend his or her time focused on his or her job. Barack Obama has a day job; it’s called being president of the United States. Claire McCaskill has a day job; it’s called being a U.S. Senator. They’re both hard workers, but their efforts to make our society more fair and just are undermined when they play a game that only includes rich people. Who else can pay $2,400 for dinner, or to try to buy influence? Their promises to stand up for all Americans ring hollow when they are indulging in excess for an elite few.
We are not alone in calling for restraint in fund-raising, but additionally we are questioning the value of the expenditures of the money that is raised. The Occasional Planet seeks to play a role in elevating our political dialogue. When the money goes to buy bumper stickers, buttons, and yard signs to promote the candidate; we learn nothing. When commercials are sometimes negative and always simplistic, we learn nothing.
On a positive note, there must have been hundreds of St. Louisans who were invited to the gala and chose not to go. Imagine if Barack Obama or Claire McCaskill gave a fund-raiser and no one came. Thanks to all of you who strengthened our political system by refusing the invitation. You probably had time to relax, be with family and/or friends, enjoy a good book or even TV show …. all for free! You win, but all of us lose from the gathering at the Renaissance. Today’s another day, Mr. President and Madam Senator. I will be glad to know you’re back trying to do what we elected you to do.
Since 1969, Arthur Lieber has been teaching and working in non-profit educational organizations. His focus has been on promoting critical, creative, and enjoyable learning for students in informal settings. In the 2010 mid-term elections, he was the Democratic nominee for US Congress from Missouri’s 2nd Congressional District.