Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Plato and the Government Shutdown (Live Post)

Like any concerned United States citizen, my television has been on all night displaying old men in nice suits going on about the government shutdown and I've set my phone to receive live updates on in the form of a text message, courtesy of my CNN app. Yes, this whole debacle is essentially centered on the issue of ObamaCare and all that other jazz. However, one can't help but wonder what all those members of the Senate have been dedicating their time to over the course of the fiscal year (Oct. 1 2013 to Sept. 30 2013). No, I have unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) never been a member of the Senate. Although, it doesn't take a genius to figure out that a primary goal for a Senator is to get reelected after their six years are up. This is absolutely understandable. Running for office can't be easy. It no doubt takes time, dedication, and absurd amounts of money to win. Obviously, a person who has been elected will most likely not be willing to loose their position. Due to the sheer brilliance of our Founding Fathers, Presidents serve for four years and are limited to serving two terms. This way, U.S. presidents can focus more on the state of the nation and less on getting reelected. In contrast, Senators serve for six years and don't have a limit on the number of consecutive terms they can serve, as long as they are reelected every six years. Anyone think that maybe this whole situation could probably have originated from the fact that most Senators are likely to be more concerned with getting reelected than compromising with members of their opposing party and working towards bettering the nation? I mean, I know I'm not the only one who has this thought.
Something about this theory reminded me of a quote from Plato's Allegory of the Cave. Socrates states, "Whereas if they go to the administration of public affairs, poor and hungering after their own private advantage, thinking that hence they are to snatch the chief good, order there can never be; for they will be fighting about office, and the civil and domestic broils which arise will be the ruin of the rulers themselves and of the whole State." Essentially, people who don't necessarily want to rule should be given power. That way, people running the State won't be just power hungry politicians. I, personally, wouldn't go as far as Plato to say that philosophers should be running the nation. However, I completely agree that it is essentially to have government officials who are less concerned with personal power and more concerned with the State. Maybe limiting the number of terms a member of Congress can serve will prevent them from focusing on getting reelected, which will result in them focusing on using their six years to bettering the State and not themselves.


Amy Clement said...

Your comments about the obscene amounts of money needed to fund a political campaign reminded me of what Mrs. Quinet said about the Civil Service exam. Although the theory of the exam seems to promote equal opportunity for everyone, in practice, the exam soon became corrupted and only benefited the people who are in the good graces of those in power at the time. Since I'm such an all over type of person, that reminded me of the ACT/SAT. The standardized tests were established to provide an objective determinant of college readiness, but, like Civil Service exam, it soon became another way to benefit the privileged. Those with the best tutors get the best scores and get into the best schools. With the test itself costing up to a hundred dollars, tutors and the whole testing process becomes very expensive. The standardized tests play such a big role in the college admission process as a show of a student's merit when sometimes it only serves to show who could hire the best tutors in the area.

Joseph D'Amico said...

I totally agree with you; this whole situation is ridiculous. They get elected mainly by how much money they have (now more than ever with the advent of the Super PACs), and don't always even do much once they are in power. If we did impose term limits, maybe they would have a little more incentive to do something. Also realy like the pictures.