Try to imagine you are a foreign national coming to the United States for the first time.  You have heard many things about this country.  Depending on your national origin, it could be good, or it could be bad.  Perception is a tricky thing.  Let's assume you come from a Western European nation and you are vaguely familiar with the USA.  You might even have met some tourists as they made their way through your section of Europe.

You land at JFK (the modern version of Ellis Island from yesteryear).  You are immediately confronted by various languages, media and clothing.  Food may seem familiar, but slightly off from your what you know.  If you came from an urban area of Europe, then JFK would most likely seem rather normal.

You make your way into New York City and again, while slightly different from what you know, it would still seem familiar enough that you probably wouldn't feel too out of place in most parts of the city.  You decide to wander around the city.  You see pockets of various ethnic neighborhoods, and maybe you feel homesick or excited to experience something new.  You still feel comfortable, and if you speak English then you are quite capable of enjoying all that the city has to offer.

Your plan when coming to the United States was to fully immerse yourself in the culture of America.  If you remain in an urban center like New York, Boston, Chicago or Los Angeles then you would have a very similar experience, and it would feel much like home.  If on the other hand you decide to venture out into the rest of America you could become quite shocked.  While the major cities seem similar to your European sensibilities, the more rural areas of the country would feel very, very different.

Our urban European traveler would be unable to relate to the vast majority of this country.  Looking at editorials in Montana would differ to a great extent in tone and topic from those in Los Angeles or New York.  Upon returning to Europe our traveler would likely be unable to clearly and correctly describe Americans.  He would feel a connection to those of like mind he found in the US and express frustration with those he didn't understand.  He would claim to be open minded, but in reality he would only feel comfortable with those that thought as he did.  That is the great political lie put forth by our politicians today.  Open-mindedness doesn't exist any more than unbiased journalism.  Both claim to have no preconceived opinions, yet every reporter has an agenda and every person is closed to certain issues in their lives.

When we disagree with someone it is much easier to blame them for all of the ills of our lives.  Simply put there is enough blame to go around, and where you live probably says more about whom you hold responsible.  You see, outside of the urban centers in this country, people behave, believe and think differently.  Geographically they are larger but on a per capita they are much smaller.  Take a look at the map below from the Chicago Sun-Times Voices Blog.

What this graphic shows is that during the 2012 Presidential Election, President Obama carried the major urban areas of the country (and in some cases this was enough to carry the state) even though geographically Mitt Romney carried the largest sections of the country.

Our politicians would love to talk about income disparities, but that isn't actually what this map shows.  It shows that urban areas are overwhelmingly Democratic in voting practices, while the vast majority of the counties in the USA are much more Republican in nature.  This shapes your beliefs in what direction you think the country should take.  The rub is that every single one of these politicians is responsible for the mess of our country.  Political parties are not relevant to the discussion.  Let me share two emails I received recently.

 545 vs. 300,000,000 Peopleb
by Charlie Reese
Politicians are the only people in the world who create problems and then campaign against them.
Have you ever wondered, if both the Democrats and the Republicans are against deficits, WHY do we have deficits?
Have you ever wondered, if all the politicians are against inflation and high taxes, WHY do we have inflation and high taxes?
You and I don't propose a federal budget. The President does.
You and I don't have the Constitutional authority to vote on appropriations. The House of Representatives does.
You and I don't write the tax code, Congress does.
You and I don't set fiscal policy, Congress does.
You and I don't control monetary policy, the Federal Reserve Bank does.
One hundred senators, 435 congressmen, one President, and nine Supreme Court justices equate to 545 human beings out of the 300 million are directly, legally, morally, and individually responsible for the domestic problems that plague this country.
I excluded the members of the Federal Reserve Board because that problem was created by the Congress. In 1913, Congress delegated its Constitutional duty to provide a sound currency to a federally chartered, but private, central bank.
I excluded all the special interests and lobbyists for a sound reason. They have no legal authority. They have no ability to coerce a senator, a congressman, or a President to do one cotton-picking thing. I don't care if they offer a politician $1 million dollars in cash. The politician has the power to accept or reject it. No matter what the lobbyist promises, it is the legislator's responsibility to determine how he votes.
Those 545 human beings spend much of their energy convincing you that what they did is not their fault. They cooperate in this common con regardless of party.
What separates a politician from a normal human being is an excessive amount of gall. No normal human being would have the gall of a Speaker, who stood up and criticized the President for creating deficits. The President can only propose a budget. He cannot force the Congress to accept it.
The Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land, gives sole responsibility to the House of Representatives for originating and approving appropriations and taxes. Who is the speaker of the House? John Boehner. He is the leader of the majority party. He and fellow House members, not the President, can approve any budget they want. If the President vetoes it, they can pass it over his veto if they agree to.
It seems inconceivable to me that a nation of 300 million cannot replace 545 people who stand convicted -- by present facts -- of incompetence and irresponsibility. I can't think of a single domestic problem that is not traceable directly to those 545 people. When you fully grasp the plain truth that 545 people exercise the power of the federal government,then it must follow that what exists is what they want to exist.
If the tax code is unfair, it's because they want it unfair.
If the budget is in the red, it's because they want it in the red.
If the Army & Marines are in Iraq and Afghanistan it's because they want them in Iraq and Afghanistan ...
If they do not receive social security but are on an elite retirement plan not available to the people, it's because they want it that way.
There are no insoluble government problems.
Do not let these 545 people shift the blame to bureaucrats, whom they hire and whose jobs they can abolish;
to lobbyists, whose gifts and advice they can reject; to regulators,
to whom they give the power to regulate and from whom they can take this power.
Above all, do not let them con you into the belief that there exists disembodied mystical forces like
"the economy," "inflation," or "politics" that prevent them from
doing what they take an oath to do.
Those 545 people, and they alone, are responsible.
They, and they alone, have the power.
They, and they alone, should be held accountable by the people who are their bosses.
Provided the voters have the gumption to manage their own employees..
We should vote all of them out of office and clean up their mess!
Charlie Reese is a former columnist of the Orlando Sentinel Newspaper.
What you do with this article now that you have read it... is up to you.
This might be funny if it weren't so true.
Be sure to read all the way to the end:

Tax his land,
Tax his bed,
Tax the table,
At which he's fed.

Tax his tractor,
Tax his mule,
Teach him taxes
Are the rule.

Tax his work,
Tax his pay,
He works for
peanuts anyway!

Tax his cow,
Tax his goat,
Tax his pants,
Tax his coat.

Tax his ties,
Tax his shirt,
Tax his work,
Tax his dirt.

Tax his tobacco,
Tax his drink,
Tax him if he
Tries to think.

Tax his cigars,
Tax his beers,
If he cries
Tax his tears.

Tax his car,
Tax his gas,
Find other ways
To tax his ass.

Tax all he has
Then let him know
That you won't be done
Till he has no dough.

When he screams and hollers;
Then tax him some more,
Tax him till
He's good and sore.

Then tax his coffin,
Tax his grave,
Tax the sod in
Which he's laid...

Put these words
Upon his tomb,
'Taxes drove me
to my doom...'

When he's gone,
Do not relax,
Its time to apply
The inheritance tax.

Accounts Receivable Tax
Building Permit Tax
CDL license Tax
Cigarette Tax
Corporate Income Tax
Dog License Tax
Excise Taxes
Federal Income Tax
Federal Unemployment Tax (FUTA)
Fishing License Tax
Food License Tax
Fuel Permit Tax
Gasoline Tax (currently 44.75 cents per gallon)
Gross Receipts Tax
Hunting License Tax
Inheritance Tax
Inventory Tax
IRS Interest Charges IRS Penalties (tax on top of tax)
Liquor Tax
Luxury Taxes
Marriage License Tax
Medicare Tax
Personal Property Tax
Property Tax
Real Estate Tax
Service Charge Tax
Social Security Tax
Road Usage Tax
Recreational Vehicle Tax
Sales Tax
School Tax
State Income Tax
State Unemployment Tax (SUTA)
Telephone Federal Excise Tax
Telephone Federal Universal Service Fee Tax
Telephone Federal, State and Local Surcharge Taxes
Telephone Minimum Usage Surcharge Tax
Telephone Recurring and Nonrecurring Charges Tax
Telephone State and Local Tax
Telephone Usage Charge Tax
Utility Taxes
Vehicle License Registration Tax
Vehicle Sales Tax
Watercraft Registration Tax
Well Permit Tax
Workers Compensation Tax

Not one of these taxes existed 100 years ago, & our nation was the most prosperous in the world.
We had absolutely no national debt, had the largest middle class in the world, and Mom stayed home to raise the kids.
What in the heck happened? Can you spell 'politicians?'

So who do you hold responsible for the plight of our country.  If you want to continue the same divisive practice that got us into this mess, them more of the same will follow.  IF on the other hand you want to make a change in the future of our country then hold your representatives accountable.  Elect only those individuals who aren't looking for a career in politics, but simply to serve their time and make a positive difference.  In most cases if your politician has been in office longer than you have owned your current underwear, then like your underwear it is time for a change.