Having shared some thoughts with you over the past several months about the operations of our three branches of government, (state and federal) perhaps we should just be honest with ourselves and declare the problem is us after all.

Are “we the people” really committed to good government? Commitment and honesty must be the guide of those we elect to serve us. And we do elect our officials from among ourselves, community and state. Those who complain should offer themselves as candidates! We citizens are responsible for the election of those we choose to lead us. When an official becomes corrupt or is guilty of malfeasance, we need to remove them. But the real problem is not enough experienced, honest people offering themselves for public service, especially with business backgrounds.

Our government will always have problems so long as ambition and greed are a part of our everyday life. And we citizens support that through our labor, ingenuity and our willingness to live in excess of our needs to survive. The big Depression of the ’30s motivated us all to one common goal to make a better life for our children! While Tom Brokaw calls us the “greatest generation” with three wars, including Vietnam and a couple of skirmishes, we have gone overboard with a lifestyle not justifiable. Our tax revenues should go for military and medical research rather than to monuments to satisfy the power or ego trip of some individual or group. The annual beer bill in this country alone is amazing! One day soon, the water bill will come due!

Friends saved from some frugality would be better used to support military and medical research and public safety that we may survive. Other nations around the world will continue their jealousy and envy of us, despite all the financial assistance we give them.

“God helps those who try to help themselves” should be continuously preached to those countries whose living conditions we are taxing ourselves to help.

Perks for public officials in all branches of government, their retirement packages, dishonest purchasing, use of credit cards, all of these are discussed by the electorate far more often than campaign finance reform. Corporate and union campaign funding should be equalized. Anything else has to be unconstitutional. Otherwise, my grandchildren will likely be helping decide whether “term limits” is a more promising way to restore government to the people as was originally intended!

(Rio Communities resident Barney Barnard is a former New Mexico State Legislator.)

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Barney Barnard