It’s very cold I think, both physically and psychologically. There is a stress I feel inside a store or restaurant. People seem to be more guarded, more anxious in their movements or eye contact. Have you noticed? Maybe it is me, because rather than embracing the year 2013 with vigor and excitement about sharing the traditions and values I was raised to promote, I feel like I am in a strange country.It truly seems to me we do not have to look any further than our elected officials to view deceptive dazzle, bullying, corruption, crony politics and a whole lot of behavior that is seriously lacking in integrity, accountability, and transparency. What happened to “We, the People?” Do you know about the pork which fattens bills in Congress? It is usually snuck into a bill without any notice to the public who pays the freight for it. Disgusting.The law requires that congress must pass a budget each year. Our illustrious senator is in violation of the law and has been for the last four years. He should be put under a citizens’ arrest. Since he does not represent Nevada but is the president’s assistant, he should retire. He is only a mortal, one of a group of 100 elected officials, who thinks he is above the law.In the paper, our “illustrious” senator was recognized as the longest serving elected official in Nevada history. He was elected at 41 years of age; today he is 73. Many think of him as being out of touch with the problems and concerns of Nevadans. He does not take his position as senator seriously but he is drowning us in red ink with his power. Remember, “Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely.” That famous phrase always reminds me of this senator. He is more interested in starting a National Boxing League than getting Nevadans back to work or balancing a budget. Perhaps if they removed all pockets from his clothing, he would do his fellow senators a favor by allowing discussion and debate on bills before that body of august leaders. He abuses his power when he decides what will be discussed in the senate; usually it is nothing of consequence. That is not what our Founding Fathers had in mind when they drafted the Constitution. Currently, he is considering implementing the so called “Nuclear Option” which prevents filibustering and bills need only a simple majority to pass. Should he decide to “nuke” the Senate, our Constitution will be fundamentally changed. I view this as another rung on the ladder to destroy our country. But, he continues to be reelected. Everyone I spoke with regarding the last-minute bill to avoid the “Fiscal Cliff” expresses some outrage and disgust. As the billions of dollars of “pork” favors included in the bill surface, the American People have been spoofed again. The Senate voted on it within three minutes of its delivery to them. There is $41 of new spending for every $1 of spending cuts. That is not a compromise, fair, and even remotely close to addressing the big problems we face as a nation. It is not that the Congress did not have enough time; they had over 18 months to work this out. The drama of the late night, last-minute passage of the bill no one, once again, read, to accommodate President Obama getting back to yet another exorbitant vacation, was very “Hollywood.” Congress did have time to let us foolish taxpayers know they got their pay raise. In case you did not know, Hollywood movie producers are getting billions of tax credits that you, the average taxpayer are not. I heard a Texas Congressman describe Congress as a “brilliant and talented” group of people. They lack integrity. My plan’s goal is to get Nevadans more informed about our collapsing government. I believe hope springs eternal, but with no effort, no accountability demands, and continued waste, the United States will cease to exist. The threat is real. Please write or call Senator Heller or Congressman Amodei. Send letters to the paper. Communication is critical. Let your voice be heard.In Sunday’s Appeal, approximately 700 people were listed as contributors to the paper. It was a list of people who have strong convictions and positions on issues. My goal is to encourage people to share their thoughts to enable that list to grow two-fold by year’s end. If we pay attention, demand accountability and transparency, we then will have a stronger, safer and more secure country. Ben Franklin, my favorite Founding Father, wrote anonymous letters to the New England Courant newspaper using the pseudonym of widow Silence Dogood. I am not fictitious. I am concerned and, if you choose, you can call me “Not-to-be-Silenced”…• Ann Bednarski of Carson City is a career educator and journalist.