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Behavior

Dear Editor:

As the speaker of our Unitarian Universalist Church completed her talk and discussion, she added an unusual comment, something like “talking about our practices is not as important as our behavior;” talk is cheap, practice what you preach.

Voters too often base decisions on campaign rhetoric instead of a candidate’s behavior in office. As voters cheered, Obama campaigned to sign no bill that had earmarks, promised to “close Gitmo,” promised to cut the deficit in half, promised the most transparent administration ever, promised that with Obamacare people could keep their healthcare plan and doctor if they wanted to and that the average American would save $2,500 per year.

The issues that really got voters excited was his chastising the Bush administration for allowing “obscene executive compensation” (“don’t you think there’s such a thing as enough money?”). And he promised to cancel the, “Bush tax cuts” on the upper 2 percent of taxpayers. In 2011 and 2012, Democrats had total government control, and they got their votes and campaign contributions, and the rich got richer and the poor got poorer. Obama failed on many of his most important verbal promises, then, unbelievably, he was nominated for reelection.

In our recent (compromised) budget, republican Paul Ryan started with his budget targeted to be balanced in just a few years. One thing in Paul’s proposed budget was having high income seniors pay more for their Medicare; his democratic partner (Patty Murray) would not go along with it. And Patty would not go along with Paul on having federal employees paying more of their pension costs.

Democrats talk about income inequality, but their subsequent behavior reflects decisions based on getting votes, period.

Anytime our current politicians “negotiate,” we the people lose. Paul tried and failed; but he claims the budget is not a good budget, but is at least a step in the right direction.

When I try to understand why Congress disregards our need to eliminate our $17,000,000,000,000 national debt, I conclude the problem has to be that us voters are oblivious to the magnitude of the debt, and we swallow the promises of the spoken word and ignore the past behavior of the promisers.

And I recall what put Hitler, an ex-German army corporal, in complete control of Germany. As his Mein Kampf translator put it, “The broad masses of the people can be moved by the power of speech. The spoken word was for him the only weapon … capable of engendering the mass passions on which he … relied to bring him to power. For as long as the insight of the masses remains as slight as now and the state as indifferent as today, these masses will always be first to follow the man who in economic matters offers the most shameless promises.” Hitler wrote: “I know that men are won over less by the written than by the spoken word, that every great movement on this earth owes its growth to great orators and not to great writers.” We know.

Harris Bynum

This story was posted on December 19, 2013.