(NNPA) - November 2010 will, once again, for the umpteenth time, reveal the "insanity" that Albert Einstein referred to in his famous quote. You know: doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. For decades voters have elected folks who, once they get sworn in, do absolutely nothing for the voters and everything for themselves. We elect politicians who deliberate and legislate against us rather than on our behalf. And we keep doing this strange mating dance ad nauseam.
Why do so many of us keep falling for the same old tired game every election? Politics is all about self-interest; that really says it all. The things we see in politics today should tell us, in no uncertain terms, that if we do not play this game to win our self-interests will never be met.
Overall, the political arena dominates our collective psyche; it fills the airwaves of radio stations; it is plastered on our walls via big screen TV's; it is served up hot and fresh each morning in our newspapers; and every month dozens of major magazines deluge their readers with political opinions and prognostications from one election to the next. Immediately following one election, the next one gets underway.
Can't we see what these folks are doing to us? If the result of political participation were commensurate with the attention given to the process, we would be far better off than we are now. Unemployment would not be as high. Banks would be lending money to small businesses rather than hoarding it especially after we, the people, bailed them out. There would be no question that Social Security would always live up to its name by being absolutely "secured."
Take Alan Simpson (as Henny Youngman used to say, "Please" take him). President Obama appointed this guy to help straighten out some of the mess in D.C., and he comes out and disparages Social Security and those receiving it. Simpson also castigated U.S. Veterans for receiving benefits that are rightly and justifiably theirs. If Simpson and his cronies in D.C. were forced to participate in Social Security, instead of living large on their fat-cat retirement benefits, that we pay for, they would not be so quick to tinker with it; it would always be secure.
What sense does it make for us, the electorate, to provide jobs for most of these do-nothing-but-campaign-for-the-next-election politicians while they do nothing to keep us employed? We are indeed a bi-polar, schizophrenic, manic depressive electorate. We vote for one party, and in two years we are ready to switch to the other party, even though both parties either take us for granted or couldn't care less about us. That is, except when they need our individual votes.
The fact that some candidates spend millions of dollars to be elected to a job that pays $125,000 - $200,000 annually should tell us something. The fact that D.C. lobbyists earn and average of $300,000 annually should tell us something. The fact that the two parties cannot agree on anything speaks volumes. The fact that the House of Representatives and the Senate together cannot get one thing done without acrimony and one-upsmanship lets us know that it's not about us, the bi-polar electorate; it's only about them and their puppet masters.
Thomas Sowell is quoted as saying, "It is hard to imagine a more stupid or more dangerous way of making decisions than by putting those decisions in the hands of people who pay no price for being wrong." This is exactly what we do, and we are about to go from manic to depressive in November. We had better change our politics and stop supporting folks who do not support us. We put them in charge of our lives, our destiny, and even though they continue to kick dirt in our faces, we just keep on paying their bills and sending their children to college.
We must be more self-directed and not be led around like a bunch of lemmings by career politicians who are directing money into their pockets and keeping it away from our pockets. Maulana Karenga said, "Self-determination stresses the quest for control of the politics, economics, and cultural institutions and processes of our communities, and to exercise and receive rightful representation and an equitable share of the resources of society. It also requires a political consciousness and responsibility which result in unity, social activism, and building institutions that house and advance our interests as a people."
Maybe we need to revisit Gary, Indiana, 1972, and start our own political party, because the three we have today are certainly not looking out for Black folks' interests. I also think we need a big dose of election year lithium for our obvious bi-polar condition because, politically speaking, we are sinking fast.
James E. Clingman, an adjunct professor at the University of Cincinnati's African American Studies department, is former editor of the Cincinnati Herald newspaper and founder of the Greater Cincinnati African American Chamber of Commerce. He hosts the cable television program, ''Blackonomics,'' and has written several books, including his latest, Black Empowerment with an Attitude - You got a problem with that?