‘Feeling the Pain’ as Our Democratic Process Breaks Apart

As posted recently at aiReform.com, a very creative aviation noise activist has started up a live stream, to share the noise impact felt by residents north of the New York Kennedy airport. Seemingly unrelated, Bernie Sanders posted an Op/Ed in the New York Times today, sharply critical of the regulatory capture that has taken over at the U.S. Federal Reserve. Senator Sanders makes an excellent point: that the Federal Reserve has been captured by the bankers and serves only them. And this example of ‘regulatory capture’ is exactly the same as has happened with FAA, serving only the aviation industry.

20151223cpy.. wall street picNow, I apologize in advance that this may read like a short rant, but please bear with me while I put both Bernie Sanders’ NYTimes Op/Ed and this latest example of aviation noise activism into a larger context. And, in the process, I will also try to resolve (or, at least make sense of, if only for personal peace of mind?) my ever-deepening concerns about what is happening in the nation where I was born 56-years ago … just a few years before so many young kids were inspired by the speeches of Eisenhower and Kennedy and Martin Luther King.

Senator Sanders’ Op/Ed was published on Wednesday (today). I first saw the live stream of impactful JFK Airport arrivals when it went online on Monday. Less than two days before that, on Saturday, I had watched the latest in a series of abominable presidential candidate debates (yes, both parties … this failure is bipartisan!). Why note this timing? Because it means that my reading of the Sanders Op/Ed and my first viewing of the YouTube live stream were experiences tempered by what I took away from watching the debates: a tall pile of confused thoughts and dissatisfaction, brought to us all by two powerful mainstream entities, ABC and the DNC.

Now, the work I put into this website reflects how I am deeply concerned about FAA’s failure as a captured agency, serving the industry while creating more and more problems for the People. But, in fact, I am much more concerned about a larger failure: what feels like an abandonment of our civility, a disappearance of our journalism, and a cooption of our representative process. Taken together, these three changes constitute a total collapse of the three key underpinnings that are absolutely necessary if we are to do well as a nation. It feels almost as if a balloon called ‘Democracy’, launched two centuries ago, has been popped by a needle of greed in just the past two decades. A bipartisan failure, under Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and now, after the current debates, who will be next?

Yes, we need reforms at FAA, but those reforms pale next to the even larger problem of a collapsed democratic process. A part of that process is the coming election, to seat our next President. Each of us has a responsibility to become informed and exercise our one vote, but the whole process is becoming so rigged, so manipulated, that any rational and independent critical thinker has to ward off a sense of futility, even depression. Really, how does one rationalize the conduct of the candidates, the two major parties, and the media, these past few months?

Back to Last Saturday Evening

The indisputable bias in favor of Hillary Clinton – and against Bernie Sanders – as demonstrated by the mainstream media, sort of came to a head for me, when I spent a couple hours of my time ‘tuned in’ to the ABC/DNC presentation. And so on Monday, oddly, while watching and hearing the new YouTube live stream, while starting to ‘feel’ the impact on those residents of Long Island, my mind kept drifting to a sound-bite from two decades ago, where Bill Clinton is saying, “I feel your pain.”

History has called into question just how well President Clinton ‘felt that pain’. IMHO, history has also called into question the integrity of every candidate elected as the U.S. President, from around 1980 onward. Personally, I have always cast my vote quite independently: for GOP and Democratic candidates alike. And, in every case, I later felt regret for the vote I cast; and, yes, it was a bipartisan remorse, as I came to feel disserved by GOP and Democrat Presidents alike. Although it has been clear for a long time, I need to quit handicapping myself with the ongoing denial: both of our major parties are increasingly prone to failure and corruption; both major parties are long overdue for vast reform.

Failure. Corruption. A need for Reform. Just like the FAA.

The very failures we wish we could clean up at FAA exist in a scaled-up form in our Congress and in the White House. We can rely on candidates and elected officials to say what they must to get elected – and re-elected – to even tell us, “I feel your pain.” But, do they feel our pain? I honestly believe Bernie Sanders DOES feel this pain. I hope he will not prove my vote was wasted.

As for the other candidates (especially Team Clinton Hillary Clinton!), one way to answer this question is to study history. Here are three embedded videos about ‘feeling the pain’.

The first is a 3-minute comedy skit from California, in which a newly elected President Obama gets into the groove after some ‘I Feel Your Pain’ coaching by former-President Clinton. The sound-quality is a bit low (perhaps the video was recorded from the audience?), but the words are understandable and the skit does present an interesting view:

The second is a 2-minute video of a key response by candidate Clinton during a town-hall debate less than a month before the 1992 general election, wherein Governor Bill Clinton shines with a message of change that eventually led to his eight years in the Whitehouse (this video clip is at approximately 52-minutes into the 91-minute debate):

The third video, and well worth watching by those who want to take a closer look (to maybe make sense of how low our election process has fallen in the last 24-years!?!), presents the entire October 15, 1992 debate in a 91-minute video. The quality of the moderating, the civility of the candidates, and the level of interaction make this 1992 debate far superior to what we are seeing in 2015:

Watching this 1992 debate, while trying to understand the last two candidate debates (Republican and Democrat), and seeing how the candidates fielded the same issues 24-years ago, it is not an exaggeration to ask: WHAT THE HELL HAS HAPPENED TO US???

See also:
  • LINK – another thought-provoking speech that preceded Eisenhower’s departing words, delivered by Edward Murrow on October 15, 1958. Includes a transcript and a link to an audio recording.
For a lighter look at our two major parties (and a few chuckles), try these two short impersonation videos, by Frank Caliendo…