The trouble with politics is that it’s full of politicians.
You see, the official job description of a member of the United States Congress is to represent the voters of their district. In a perfect world, every person in the country would be able to vote for all the things that come before Congress, and Congress would be unnecessary. This is, however, unfortunately not a perfect world. So instead, we elect representatives to go represent us and do our voting for us in Washington.
And yet they don’t represent us. Partisan politics has become so rigid and severe, and politicians have grown such a sense of entitlement that the opinions of their constituents really only matter to the extent that they desire to be re-elected. If a U.S. Representative believes that we need to stay in Iraq, by God, it doesn’t matter if every person in his district disagrees. He has to stick to his beliefs, man!
Bullshit. No matter how dead set against something any representative personally is, in all honesty it shouldn’t matter. If you are an elected representative of the people, your job is to vote the way the people would if they were present. Thomas Paine said so in Common Sense, which was the single most important rallying point in the events leading to the Revolution. That’s what the people wanted. That’s what the founding fathers wanted. That’s what this country is. It’s a representational democracy, and the job of those representatives is to represent their constituents.
Not only do our representatives fail to represent us, but partisan politics has hijacked the system to the extent that getting any real change done is next to impossible. How is it, pray tell, that partisan ‘whips,’ whose job is to make sure their colleagues vote along party lines, are an official United States federal government office? If that doesn’t convince you that the system is fundamentally flawed, I don’t know what would. George Washington, in his farewell address, warned the fledgling nation not to slip any farther into the bog of partisan politics that was already taking hold. The party system is silly, especially when it’s entirely dominated by just two parties. Washington knew that; he saw what was happening, and he warned against it. Did we listen? Obviously not.
If we want to come closer to the dream that is America, the dream set forth in the Constitution, one of the most important steps we can take is to put Congress in line. Reform the party system, either by abolishing political parties or by splitting the two dominant parties into several smaller ones. This way, ideas from all across the spectrum will be fully entertained, and maybe some change can occur. Also, the people need to start demanding that their representatives take the opinions of their constituents much deeper into consideration.
It’s supposed to be a government by the people, of the people, for the people, after all.