The Beltway Beast: How two Tribes in D.C. are Destroying the Middle Class

By Munir Moon

The area inside the Beltway consists of Washington, D.C., and surrounding counties, and what I call the Beast includes defense contractors, lobbyists, Wall Street, think tanks, advocacy groups, journalists, foreign agents, and everyone else who wants something from our government. All of these congregate in the Beltway and are actively engaged in soliciting legislative favors and taxpayers’ money. Then there is Congress and the White House, which both need the lobbyists and Wall Street for campaign funds. All of these groups are living in a bubble in the capital. One cannot underestimate the power of this lobbyist-government complex, whose tentacles tap into every city, county, and state.

Former Vice President Hubert Humphrey described Washington as 26 square miles surrounded by reality. In the words of Republican Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, today’s Washington has become a “permanent feudal class,” a massive, self-sustaining entity that sucks people in, nurtures addiction to its spoils, and imposes a peculiar psychology on big fish and minnows alike. The Beltway Beast is controlled by two major parties: the Democratic Party and the Republican Party. Last night’s election results show that the political infighting and policies against middle-class America will continue and that nothing will change.

Honorable people go to Washington filled with idealism but immediately find themselves enmeshed in tribal warfare instead. They go to Washington to serve their country only to realize that Washington has its own universe, one that is far removed from the daily realities of America. They find themselves unable to function in any meaningful sense apart from the unwritten rules and expectations of the two-party system. Consequently, before they can make a difference, they get sucked into the belly of the Beltway Beast and become part of its machinery. The preservation, perpetuation, and enshrinement of the Beast become an end in itself where getting elected, not serving people, is the priority.

The Beltway Beast has its own logic that often defies common sense, where our leaders are considered “patriotic” when they send our soldiers to get killed in a war based on flawed policies, while those who oppose the war are considered “unpatriotic”; where pulling the gun seems to be the first step to solve international problems; where the way to win the hearts and minds of people is by occupying their country and bombing them; and where a president is considered “weak” unless he takes military action in the international conflicts that are regional or civil wars.

We have been conditioned by both major parties to believe that a two-party monopoly is best for the country. This may have been true in the 20th century, but not in the 21st century, as reflected by recent polls showing that a record 42 percent of Americans do not identify with either party. The dissatisfaction and the anger with Washington reflected in yesterday’s exit polls offer the best opportunity to think anew and start supporting a mainstream third party that speaks for all Americans.

Munir Moon is a social entrepreneur and a former financial industry executive, is currently president of Bertech-Kelex, a Southern California-based distribution company that has been recognized three times as one of the top 500 fastest-growing small businesses by “Inc. 500.” In addition to his business background, Moon has nearly three decades of personal experience with our healthcare system because of the medical needs of his younger son, who survived a rare childhood cancer with numerous surgeries and is wheelchair bound. His writing frequently appears in “The Huffington Post” and other publications. His most recent book is The Beltway Beast: How Two Tribes in D.C. Are Stealing from Our Children, Violating Our Privacy, and Destroying the Middle Class

6 Responses

  1. Does Mr. Moon, or anyone else, have anything to offer in the way of means to starve the Beast? Seems like all roads lead to K Street, and all revenues, and all policies. Ordinary people just bear up and do the best they can to meet Maslow’s basic needs for themselves and their families and occasionally villages, even as they are bled out, political-economically and physiologically too. What’s a parent or atomised consumer to do?

      • Starting a new “center” party just perpetuates the myth that that the corporate Democratic Party is not centrist, which continues the corporate conspiracy to move the entire spectrum far (and profitably) to the right.

        You’re not doing any good if you have nothing to say about the historical relationship between private property “rights” and the polarization of wealth.

        • The book argues against the labels such as left or right, liberal or conservatives and red or blue, all of them are promoted by the Beltway Beast to divide us. According to a Gallup poll in October 2013, only 26% believe that two major parties adequately represent Americans, and 60% of Americans think a third party is needed. The book calls for a third party that represent all Americans.

  2. Hope in a new party would be slim unless it was centered around a well-known candidate, and one or both of the others was crippled and unresponsive to its usual members. There have been no such politicians, the parties are too cautious for that nowadays, and the public fears losing what little their favorite party offers by splitting the vote. If we had a really different party not responsive to the oligarchy, it would be denounced by mass media as extremist and most would believe that.

    Starving the beast requires a combination of education about the oligarchy, and personal motivations strong enough to cause rebellion. Neither is sufficient here, because the ignorant and selfish hear only the mass media of the oligarchy, and the most oppressed are blamed, imprisoned, or appeased. With dark state surveillance, there would be little chance of a rebellion forming without detection.

    Our lives may be leaves upon a diseased old oak in a forest of healthier democracies, doomed to be succeeded by others in better locations, but all susceptible to the same disease. Perhaps some variation, whose democratic institutions are protected against economic powers, will have a selective advantage among nations. Or perhaps a community of younger democracies that took that precaution in structuring their institutions.

    • The Beltway Beast proposes a different model that is not tied to a candidate. After all power rest with the Congress not the President.

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