Friday, March 8, 2013

Alex D. Newton: Government infighting mirrors citizenry

  Every day I see posts from conservatives and liberals alike claiming that one side or the other is unwilling to work across aisles, clogging up legislation, playing games of brinksmanship, lying and any other number of things we don't want our government to spend it's time doing. There are rampant complaints that those at the highest levels are really not earning their pay and they couldn't find "the truth" with a map and compass. I have also made many of these same complaints.

  Recently, however, I have come to a realization, an epiphany if you will, in regards to these ideals.

  Our government is simply mirroring the citizenry, which at its heart is exactly what it is supposed to do.

  Did I just say that? I think I did.

  Our government is built in such a manner that at any given time and on any given issue how the government votes is representative of the sentiment of the majority of that politician's particular constituency. That's quite a mouthful! Basically a Democratic Congressman from the Detroit area will probably vote to lengthen unemployment terms, increase minimum wage and strengthen our welfare system while a Republican from an affluent, mostly white, region in Texas will vote to tighten unemployment, leave the minimum wage alone and make it harder to be on or stay on welfare. Both of these politicians are simply looking to improve the lot of their constituents, stay in office and perhaps help a few people out in the process, (I am just going to leave out all of the self-serving portions because that is for another rant).

  Now, while these two politicians get in front of cameras and try to sway popular opinion you and I sit at home and critique them. If we agree with them we shake our heads and say things like "Thank goodness someone is finally listening!" If we don't agree, we say things like "Darn it, Judy. These fat cats in Washington just aren't listening to us." Okay, so what we say is really not anything like that last one but in order to get this article printed I can't write those things in here. Suffice it to say you know what you would be yelling at the television.

  Eventually we work our way to the computer and jump on the social networks, or as I call them the "anti-social networks" since most people on there are anything but nice, and we start commiserating with our like-minded friends and followers. We post pictures and sayings that reflect our opinions, some funny and some serious. We find little "facts" that generally wouldn't stand up to more than 30 seconds of real fact checking and we fire them off without a second's thought.

  Sooner or later we find a target. Someone wanders into our sight that doesn't feel the same way as our little cadre so we attack! We pepper them with insults about being a neo-con or a socialist. We hit them with videos of Sarah Palin looking stupid or Joe Biden making another gaffe. A lot of people have gone much further, skipping right down the path into racism, sexism and many other "isms" that should be left alone.

  After a while we tire of the name calling and the attacks and we decide to call it a night. We log off or put down our mobile and we turn on the news and what do we see? We see politicians doing to each other what we just did to a bunch of strangers on the social networks. We see the name calling, the unchecked rumors, the inability to discuss or compromise and what seems like a whole bunch of hatred flowing from one side to the other. We point at the television and say things like "You see this, Judy? THIS is why nothing gets done in Washington! These jerks do NOTHING but argue with each other!"

  Judy knows the truth, and now maybe you do too. The reason the politicians in Washington are fighting and ensuring nothing gets done is because they are simply mirroring their constituency.

  Everyone knows the way things get done in Washington is through compromise and non-partisanship. Very seldom has any legislation that was forced through ever been successful in the long run. Rarely has anything good ever come out of Washington when neither side has been willing to work together to fix a problem.

  Unfortunately for those of us in the bleachers we keep calling and reporting that something is broken. We keep saying we need to fix this, that something is seriously wrong with the machinery!

  We just got a call back from management, they say it is "working as intended".

  "Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail!"

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