At the mayoral summit

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To the Editor:

A few weeks ago I was invited to, and attended an informal “summit” meeting of the titular heads of their respective communities: our own Mayor Lore Christopher, and Sheila Stuart of Cambridge England (who just ended her second mayoral term).

This was pretty much a gimme for me as I have the pride of being Sheila’s father and have been able to observe her unambiguity of purpose as she journeys through life.  The visit put me in mind to attempt a comparative study of some of the similarities and differences of the respective governances we live under.

I had just finished reading Bill Moyers’ On Democracy and was astounded to learn that American congressional legislature tolerates the activities of apparently limitless numbers of political lobbyists, many of whom are former legislators. The political action committees choose these folks as they are intimately familiar with congressional procedures and many of the legislators themselves. In Moyers’ 6-year old book, he had estimated the number of lobbyists  at that time to have exceeded 16 per legislator with funding by the corporations of more than $12 billion that year. I had asked Sheila whether that means of persuasion of purpose was allowed in Parliament. Earlier she had been invited by her party wonks to sit in on sessions of Parliament. They were probably curious as to whether they should try to find a seat for her, and whether she would sell.  She said that she was unaware of lobbyist activity to that extent, if it was going on, and that Parliament seemed to function with decisions more dependent on the vocal prowess of those striving to be head MPs.

With the awareness of the numbers of our unemployed, and the additional costs of  subsistence allowances for these lobbyists were they to be idled, I have rethought the economic costs of their doings to the country and decided it’s probably close to a trade off.

The reality is sad. It seems that our Congress consists mainly of puppets, the puppeteers being mostly the lobbyists.

Sid Schain
Keizer

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