I think one of the things that unites Teabaggers and libs is that we have a severe disenfranchisement with our current state of governance. There’s this impression that all we need to do is replace one party with the other and suddenly all of our dreams will come true. Certainly the Bush era was closer to what the Tea Party wants and the current state is closer to what we want, but both can agree that our parties are often spineless, or rather bought out, and care more about the longevity of their office.
Case in point, consider the pie in the sky promises Democrats gave us over the past four years. I’m not talking just about Obama, I’m talking about the party as a whole. All this talk of stopping corporate welfare, of ending the wars, pure equality for gays and lesbians. Republicans were told barrels of similar ideas, and the drifting between ultraconservative and “Mavericky” between the last few elections proves that the GOP brass will court whatever voting bloc it thinks is biggest.
And there’s the problem. Our government is set up in such a way that we voters matter surprisingly little. It’s not hard to view patterns in voting. Incumbents in Congress have a 98% turnover, districts are predictable down party lines. Sure there are small variations here and there (1994, 2006), but even that’s just a case of popular sentiment drifting outside of where one candidate can conceivably cater.
All voters are, for us, are a means to an end. We’re a way for new guys to get INTO office, and then barring any insane scandals or cataclysmic changes in national opinion they’re set for life. They take cushy donations from big business and rest on their fat asses while periodically kissing up to the rest of us. We’re promised just enough to get them back into office and then it’s smooth sailing for a few more years. Just ask Robert Byrd.
If you don’t like either party? Good luck. Ever wondered why the parties seem to change in identity so much? Simply put, our system is so built around a two party dynamic that candidates just figure out which one is closest to them so they can tap into the party bank and use the party’s muscle to get them in. If we lived with a rational system, Ron Paul would not be in the same party as Tom Coburn and Olympia Snowe. Dennis Kucinich would not share a mascot with Max Baucus.
Simply put, our representatives don’t represent us. They represent themselves and the businesses that pay for them. They stay in office to reap the rewards of being in office. No term limits, no idea who’s bought who, nothing to limit them besides a handful of easily-dodged laws. Duke Cunningham and William Jefferson weren’t bastardizations of our system, they were by-products of it.
Instead of throwing the bulk of our blame at this or that party, there is a spot we could all unite around: fixing the system itself. Oh sure, it won’t happen, but if Teabaggers want to throw around venemous ire, at least aim it somewhere productive. Same for all of those sign-carrying hippie liberals.
Ah well. Back to your relaxed Sunday.