"The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in times of moral crises preserve their neutrality." -President John F. Kennedy (p7)
Washington is a swamp because Congress (and the Washington bureaucracy) wants it to be; and most Americans have been badly misinformed about why Washington doesn't work for them. It has nothing to do with gridlock or partisanship or political bickering. One of my first revelations when I became a congressman was how non-adversarial the atmosphere was. There was plenty of bipartisan agreement that Washington should increase the size of the federal government and spend money it doesn't have. Members of Congress are, for the most part, fat and happy alligators who feel pretty darned comfortable in the swamp of Washington. (p8)
Congressman Buck then gives first hand scenario after scenario, after scenario. He begins with details of being wined and dined, at tax payer expense, from day 1. Is this really how we want our tax money to be used? America is now in an unsustainable $20 trillion debt.
"Public virtue cannot exist in a Nation without private Virtue, and public Virtue is the only Foundation of Republics." -John Adams (p43)
"Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other." -John Adams (p47)
"Morality isn't just about legality; it's about doing what's right. Corruption, for a congressman, doesn't have to involve illegality; it can be as simple as, and unfortunately as common as, promoting your own interests (chiefly reelection) over the interests of the country (fiscal responsibility)." p47
"There is no distinctly American criminal class-except Congress." -Mark Twain (p53)
"The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power, pure power." -George Orwell, 1984 (p63)
"A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have." -Gerald Ford (p75)
"No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear." -Ronald Reagan (p85)
"The question before the House is one of awful moment to this country. For my own part, I consider it nothing less than a question of freedom or slavery." (p95)
We need to get back to a basic understanding of what the Constitution requires of our federal government. The federal government is supposed to be small. Its power is supposed to be limited. the United States is supposed to be a union of largely sovereign states. The Constitution would never have been ratified had there not been agreement to include a number of amendments including the Tenth Amendment, which states:
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, or prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people. -US Constitution
"Our Nation's Founders gave us the means to amend the Constitution through action of state legislatures...That is the only strategy that will work." -Ronald Reagan (p129)
Our founders' default position was to keep power as far from Washington as possible. We can no longer afford to ignore their wisdom. Our crippling national debt exists because Washington has too much power. Corruption in the federal government is a direct result of so many people getting comfortable in the stagnant political backwaters beside the Potomac. The concentration of power in DC attracts the worst and tempts the best, making it extremely difficult for men and women of character to arise and lead our nation to a healthier place.
The best way to drain the swamp in Washington is to remove the incentive for abuse. Swamps exist when water congregates in one place and becomes stagnant over time. Draining the swamp means draining Washington of power.
Washington can't abuse power it does not have. (p112-113)
How did our Founders feel about debt? "...Thomas Jefferson first proposed an amendment in 1798 to keep Congress from borrowing money. Twenty trillion dollars in debt later, we can understand why." (p129)
"The way forward is found in Article V of the Constitution. Article V provides two ways for our Constitution to be amended." (p132 Clause A of Article V explains how Congress amends the Constitution. Clause B of Article V explains how the states amend the Constitution:
"...or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by Congress..." -Article V, US Constitution
The Constitution was ratified only because it contained this vital clause as a final protection of the rights of the states against the federal government. Colonel William Barton, a delegate to Rhode Island's ratifying convention, said of Article V: "This clause ought to be written in letters of gold!" He praised the Constitution, especially this "fair opportunity furnished for amendments provided by the states." (p134)
This is why I am a volunteer with the Convention of States Project. Come sign the petition and join our team! Together, let's end corruption in Washington, D.C.