My new campaign: US Congresspeople, the President, and the Supreme Court Justices should forfeit their salary

You know, it’s a funny thought, but representing the people of the United States is more a civic duty and a means to an end than a career.  Check the writings of the founders of this nation — you represent this country because it’s the right thing to do, not because you can make a lifetime out of it.  (Sorry, no references here, but it’s true — anyway it’s my opinion regardless of who else shares it).

So here’s the thing:  All US Congresspeople should waive their rights to compensation via the US Treasury completely.

Yes, there is a recession right now, and it would be a genuine, stewartly statement.  But there have been recessions before, and that shouldn’t be the reason.

Senators and Representatives (and even the President and Supreme Court Justices) work very hard, and they deserve to make top dollar.  That being said, they should be performing their duties out of service to their country, not to get paid.

So, here is my proposal:  there will be a salary for all Congresspeople (Representatives and Senators), the President, and the Supreme Court Justices.

However, if their adjusted gross income on their tax returns exceeds said salary, they must pay the balance back to the IRS.

So, the freshman Congressman from state X only makes $30k a year as a teacher? Fine, pay him the $144k balance up to his $174k salary (2009 — US Congress Salaries and Benefits).  Congresspeople deserve $174k a year, but not when they’re already raking it in as a lawyer, writer — whatever.

I am titling this the “US Government Salary Forfeiture Movement.”  If you agree, spread the word.  I want this to become the law.  I wish these guys were already doing it, as it seems like the right thing to volunteer for.

Anyway, tag your blogs with “US Forfeiture” — get the word out, get people talking.  No high level government official has the right to complain about any fiscal issue while he or she is taking unnecessary funds from the US Treasury for performing a basic, humble, civic duty.

At the very minimum, this makes your representatives in government boldly claim that they are doing their job as a service to their country, not as a means to wealth.

Barack Obama — 44th White President of the United States of America

Given that I’ve finally got the forum to publicly mention the point, does anyone else find it somewhat ironic that the first “African American” President of the United States is half white?

Frankly, I couldn’t care less about race.  I may have racist tendencies, but they are unintentional, and I make an effort to extend my philosophies beyond them when I notice them.  That being said, why is it that the offspring of a white parent and a black parent is considered black?

Calling Barack Obama the first “African American” or “black” President is just a testament to how far we have NOT come as a country and as a society.  We see the offspring of a white parent and a black parent as black.  We don’t see that offspring as white — evidently black alters white and not the other way around.

So, I say Barack Obama is the 44th white President as much as he is the 1st black, and that is an absolute fact.  One may point out that he DOES actually look different.  Clearly, his skin is a different color than a white person’s.  It’s natural to notice the difference.

Ok fine, so he IS the first black President.  He obviously looks different than the previous Presidents.  Then again, as it turns out, Bill Clinton looks strikingly different from Harry Truman and Benjamin Harrison, and I’ve never read about how Abraham Lincoln liberated the world by being the tallest US President elected.

Someone who isn’t racist would see something amazing in Barack Obama’s skin color no sooner than in Ronald Reagan’s ears.  Genetics, ethnicity, appearance:  these should ideally be a footnote to the perspective of the individual.

It is without question a great step for a black American to become President given the level of open, blatant racism that existed even 40 years ago.  That being said, we’re still considering Barack Obama black even though he’s technically genetically half black.  We’re not considering him white, although we could do so just as accurately.  In this case, would we still proclaim a social victory?

Summary:  Obama’s skin color alone means nothing, so it’s his achievement as a black American that is noteworthy, but he is only a black American because we’re racist enough to call him black and not white.  Ultimately, from this author’s point of view, a person’s race is nothing more than a feature, but as a society we still give weight to it beyond other physical attributes.  That still makes us racist.

Someday, ideally, we will elect a <insert_distinct_minority_here> President and barely care about the adjectives.  It will be then that we will have truly overcome such bigotry.