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Please bear with me this morning as I blow a boiler full of steam about the disgraceful condition of our nation and its political system. The pressure’s been building a while now.

Let me clarify up top that I’m not raging against our individual Arkansas legislators, but they do share and must participate in the dysfunctional governmental system that exists in the morally bankrupt wasteland along the Potomac.

In that respect, every well-intentioned newcomer congressman and senator is quickly forced into playing the game to gain acceptance into the entrenched good ol’ boy system. One wag said it’s like squeezing one drop of bleach into a bathtub of hog waste.

I’ll begin the diatribe by asking if you’re as fed-up as I am with the partisan conflicts and crises manufactured day and night among the congressmen, senators and bureaucracy we elected to conduct the nation’s business honorably as adults.

Instead of reason and civility, we, at the ballot box, have allowed what amounts to junior high cafeteria food fighters to assume control over much of our lives.

Those who show up to squabble and self-serve on our tax dollars in D.C. (when they aren’t on breaks and junkets) seem to spend their days trying to out-politic each other in a never-ending contest of party egos and “neener-neener” finger-pointing.

Years of this have left so many of us outraged and cynical by the partisan, divisive tactics that have become the unacceptable nasty norm in government (see Saul Alinsky).

People have had more than enough of the “my cookie is bigger” approach to our nation’s deadly serious business. They have had enough of arising daily to the latest national-media-hyped purported crisis that politically can’t be allowed to go to waste.

They’ve had enough of the flagrant corruption and a failure to do their jobs at the highest levels and the immature “resisting for resistance’s sake.” How about the equally juvenile philosophy of rewarding our friends and punishing our enemies?

Would those supposed “enemies” be the millions of Americans who won’t sacrifice their freedoms for any hypocritical political ideology, especially a radical one?

These elected legislators would be so well-served, as would we the people, if they first spent at least a full day studying our Constitution to which they faithfully swore oaths of support.

Those passages, along with individual consciences and following truth over selfishness, should be their primary guides in serving we the people. It’s unacceptable to pledge allegiance to what money and party leaders dictate in efforts to win elections at any cost, especially if it means legislators serve for lucrative decades in power over our lives.

How tragic that greed and narcissism have reached into virtually every corner of their sworn and sacred responsibilities to put our nation and its citizens above themselves.

It’s beyond deplorable to shut down the government they are tasked with properly managing based on political positioning. It’s inexcusable our Department of Justice, supposedly blind and impartial to corrupting politics, apparently chooses instead to involve itself at the highest levels in the stench of it all, even at the expense of sacrificing reputation and respect for their hard-won honor and their integrity.

Ugly, insidious politics over truth and reliable justice from the agency we expect and trust to provide both above all else? That sounds more to me like the KGB.

How deplorable to flagrantly use our military (and even the hopes of the illegals we call Dreamers) as political pawns to leverage personal political gains.

How deplorable to secretly spend millions on our tax dollars for hush money to cover up their sexual misconduct and other abuses in the office we provided them.

How deplorable for our State Department to knowingly leave four Americans under fire at our embassy without prompt military assistance as they collapsed to their deaths in some Third World squalor.

How deplorable that sensitive national information, clearly marked as classified, even top secret, winds up in a private server and then onto the laptop computer of a disgraced former congressman and registered sex offender without severe consequences.

Rest assured, had a serviceman or woman privately possessed or circulated classified documents, they’d have been quickly locked away in military prison.

The list of deplorables within our government continues to swell as upset Americans have become wise to so many venal and unprincipled actions from these elected “leaders,” most of whom grow wealthy feasting on the power and influence we have given them and our taxes that support their inactions and childish behaviors.

Beats me how any adult could possibly wonder how the maverick yet successful businessman and anti-politician (who, yes, tweets way too much and regularly inserts a foot squarely between his jaws) nonetheless can be elected and remain popular among scores of millions of enraged Americans.

So yeah, count me among those exhausted and angered by a swamp filled with the unpopular self-important who laughingly refer to themselves as “public servants.”

Yet in reality, and despite the woeful ignorance and lack of crucial awareness and integrity displayed by so many in D.C., so many there have come to fancy themselves flitting above our laws and civil behavior Americans are expected to follow.

I appreciate what economist Thomas Sowell wrote: “It is hard to imagine a more stupid or dangerous way of making decisions than by putting those decisions in the hands of those who pay no price for being wrong.”

Mike Masterson is a longtime Arkansas journalist. Email him at

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