cur-mud-geon: anyone who hates hypocrisy and pretense and has the temerity to say so; anyone with the habit of pointing out unpleasant facts in an engaging and humorous manner
If you recall your history lessons, the Louisiana Purchase was made by Thomas Jefferson in December, 1803. That covered some 800,000 square miles of territory that is now the mid-section of our country from north to south. It cost $15 Million dollars at the time.
Another Louisiana Purchase, as the pundits have labeled it, occurred just the other day when the Obama Administration promised that it would move $300 Million dollars to Louisiana in return for the vote of Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) in favor of bringing the Senate health reform bill to the floor for debate. She was one of the three hold-outs that finally changed their minds and voted to commence the debate. This was seen as helping her defend the Senate seat she occupies since she'll be seen as having brought home some Federal money for her constituents.
The idea that votes can be bought and paid for is certainly bad. The idea that those votes can be bought and paid for using our money is even worse. The idea that those votes were for sale is worse yet. The idea that we tolerate such things in our government speaks to the degradation of the mores of the country. This is not restricted to one party; it permeates both major parties. The elitism is rampant on both sides of the aisle.
We have permitted a caste system to develop in our country. The politicians, sometimes even beginning at the local level, are permitted to act in ways for which the rest of us pay a dear price. The price we pay may be in dollars, or it may be in the creeping erosion of personal freedoms, or it may be in the insidious usurpation of personal rights, or it may be the gradual change in what is permitted to occur without fear of punishment.
This leads to the defense of "We've always done it this way", or of "They do it, so why can't we?". Or it leads to too many of us simply looking the other way and no longer calling out the wrongdoers. It leads to the good people letting the others have their way because "it just isn't worth the fight and the toll it would take" to right the wrongs.
It begins locally and becomes statewide and then nationwide, and we wonder how we've come to the point we've reached. We came to this point one day at a time; one sideways glance at a time; one blind eye at a time.
How do we right this wrong? It may be impossible unless each of us refuses to accept this 'status quo' without speaking out. It has to start at the grass root level; if it begins there, it will eventually have worked its way up through the root system and into the trunk and out through all the branches. It must start in our schools where not enough time and attention is spent on what we used to call "Civics". It must start in our homes where we teach our children what they become by our examples.