NEWS

Kent Bush: Right people aren’t always ones who win

Kent Bush

Sometimes the view from  the top isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

It is never good to be in power when things that are beyond your control take a turn for the worst.  

The president and Congress are receiving the worst public approval ratings imaginable in recent Gallup polls. Only 14 percent of Americans have a favorable opinion of Congress. A?mere 28 percent approve the job being done by George W. Bush.

But what causes you to approve of Congress or the president?

Obviously, the economy is a big deal. Paying $75 for a tank of gas matters. Reading about banks being closed and mortgages failing matters.

Did Congress or the president really cause any of these things to happen? Not really. 

The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq at least exacerbated the situation, and they don’t help the morale of the citizens either.

But should Todd Tiahrt really bear the brunt of your disgust when you fill your tank? No.

That is where the intricacies of the poll become clear. Only 14 percent approve of “Congress.” However, more than 60 percent believe their own representative should be re-elected. In reality, about 95 percent of the incumbents will be re-elected. But in the context of a poll, it is easy to cast off negative emotions by blaming someone. Rulers draw that ire.

This isn’t new.

In 64 A.D., it was rumored that Nero actually “fiddled while Rome burned” during a fire that consumed much of the world’s grandest city.

The fiddle wasn’t even invented for more than a thousand years. The actual history reports he dressed in costume and played his lyre and sang of the fall of Troy comparing past tragedies to the current one.

However, other reports say he scrambled around the city trying to help with the situation. Yet his efforts to save the city were no more fruitful than any other.

But he was in charge, so he bore the blame. 

He was ridiculed and his power was threatened. Thus he decided to find another scapegoat on which to shift the anger of the people.

That burden fell on Christians -- a small sect of people who were followers of a then-fledgling religion. They were blamed for arson -- as was Nero. Only soldiers were able to coax confessions from some of the Christians.

In fact, huge accidental fires were common in Rome.

More like current-day American, these problems could have been better prepared for and handled far more adeptly.

Luckily for Americans, Congress and the president haven’t resorted to ordering anyone to be fed to the dogs, crucified or burned to serve as lights, as Roman historian Tacitus reported that Nero did.

Congress and the president rarely cause all of the problems they get blamed for in the economy. 

They also rarely do all they claim credit for when times are good.

The only way to fix the problem is to become an informed electorate and hire the right people for the job.

But the right people aren’t always the ones who win the races.

More than a quarter of Americans still believe Barack Obama was raised a Muslim. Twelve percent still believe he is a practicing Muslim.

Republican strategist Mike Murphy recently said, “There are a lot of morons that vote. We can’t outlaw morons.”

All we can do is try our best to ensure that the majority that makes the decision does so with good information.

If we do that, maybe we’ll end up with a president and Congress we can all approve of.

Augusta Gazette