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A Land of Political Predators

April 15, 2008

Recently, the words “predator” and “predatory” have been reserved for mortgage lenders and the finance industry. Predatory practices are as old as the world’s oldest profession, if any of us know what that really is.

Many politicians easily fit into the definition of predator in the minds of many. Perhaps you think of predatory politics when you see Hillary Clinton rage at Barack Obama as they duke it out in the 2008 Democratic Primary Elections. You may have seen evidence of predatory politics starting in 1984, when year after year, Democratic politicians morphed child and family law into a new socialistic creation of power and entitlement rights for children and big government. You may have considered the predatory politics of generations of political administrations that have looked aside while the interests of the nation have been shipped overseas. You may have considered the use of insider information that revolves around enacting laws for corporations while heavily investing in those same corporations to make money and expand political influence. You may view President Bush’s distortion of privacy laws as predatory.

Years ago, an investor wrote a note to the editor of the New York Times on June 26, 1907. “Predatory politicians… know…absolutely nothing about the science of railroading, for example, or of multitudinous details or of any other of our great industrial organization, …seeks to impose himself and his ilk by questionable, if not absolutely unconstitutional law on all individual or collective enterprise and bring in a train of evils worse than the opening of Pandora’s box.”

Clearly, predatory conduct might be seen from the viewpoint of any given person. However, the commentary made by the nameless investor from 1907 uses the U.S. Constitution as a frame of reference. Is it not reasonable to fathom that all political issues that are framed in the United States should be framed with the Constitution in mind rather than the latest trendy ruling of a judge somewhere in Massachusetts?

The Constitution and Bill of Rights are designed to be the founding base of the United States. What politicians prefer to do is layer law by making miniscule changes repeatedly. Laws are rarely repealed. Instead, laws are selectively written over with new variations and ignored when they are no longer needed. The nightmare of understanding and enforcing an amalgam of often misunderstood, unappreciated and sometimes unconstitutional law is the result. Because of this legal ambiguity, the country drifts farther and farther from its common roots, the Constitution.

The implication is that predatory politics requires knowledge and intent to act in a predatory way. The common view is that to be a predator requires prey. In the animal kingdom, this reality may be fact. In politics, the truth is that ignorance, lack of appreciation and lack of commitment is as predatory as overt disregard, influence peddling and the design of new unconstitutional law for the good of oneself or someone you know. The reality is that of benign neglect vs. malignant abuse. The legal community often refers to this variation in law as legal precedence.

Legal precedence assumes that prior law was carefully balanced with the needs of the new law and that new law is in compliance with founding documents. As time progresses, legal precedence grows farther from the center. Lawyers, lobbyist and specialists of all kinds look for loopholes to exploit for their own interests. The country has grown into a new creation founded by distorted rulings and ideals.

As a country, we have grown so far from the center of this nation’s central beliefs and legal foundations that we have ceased to exist as the same country. Corruption threatens the fabric of the nation. The country is unhappy and wonders why satisfaction is like gold on the bottom of a rainbow.

The United States is well over two-hundred years old. Most nations that have been founded have survived for much shorter times. The fall of most nations comes from intensive corruption and resulting political upheaval. Historians often refer to the Fall of the Roman Empire when detailing the collapse of a nation.

Not a single nation or people is impervious to collapse or corruption. The nation that calls itself “America” would do well to remember that truth when considering the reality of where the country really stands in its economic and political life. Champions are made, not born. Life is a journey, not an event.

 

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