Yesterday was a historic moment in America, with the Republicans gaining more seats in the election than has happened in 70 years. It was an extremely lopsided victory for the Republican political machine. Even though they did not win the senate, they did gain seats and won back a few Democratic strongholds in the senate.
To the Republicans I ask a simple question; so what? The Democrats lost because they were obviously out of touch with voters. While America wanted reforms, they didn’t want the drastic reforms that a Democratic Congress brought about. Thus, as a response, they elected Republicans. This should weigh heavily on the Republicans’ minds – voters didn’t elect Republicans because the Republicans had an excellent plan, Republicans were elected because they weren’t Democrats.
As anyone who survived high school will tell you, if a girl dates you for the simple fact that it’ll make her ex-boyfriend mad (or because she’s mad at him), your relationship isn’t going to be the thing of romance novels.
Republicans must never forget that they too were ousted in 2006 because they had lost touch with the voters. Back then, voters wanted reform, not politicians who simply sat there and did nothing. The Republicans chose to do nothing and they paid for it. The Democrats brought in too much reform.
Ultimately, this is the problem I have with democracy. At some point the representatives fail to be truly representative. At some point they begin to represent their own special interests. It’s no secret that the person with the best name recognition usually wins. Of course, the best way to gain name recognition is to have lots of money, and generally where there’s lots of money there’s lots of corruption (not always, but generally). Lobbyists, businesses, and backroom deals are the general composition of any successful political bid.
With the above in mind, where does that leave the average American? What civic purpose do I have to vote when my vote won’t ultimately count? I’ll vote for a politician who said one thing and ultimately ended up accomplishing another. I’ll vote for someone who comes across as a moderate, but ends up being an extremist (either to the left or to the right).
I sometimes wonder if it would be better to turn to direct democracy on important issues. Major bills, such as the healthcare bill or raising the taxes, might be better off if left to a direct vote of the people. To make it fair, each state only gets one vote and that state’s vote is determined by if a majority voted for the proposal or not. This would make the congressional role more servile in nature; the role of the congressperson would be to write legislation and present it to the American people, not to decide for them.
Then again, this is the same American populace that is far more concerned about Jersey Shore and who’s lost the most weight on the Biggest Loser than they are about taxation and other more important issues. Maybe this would change if we moved to a more direct democracy, but my guess is that it wouldn’t. Instead, because of how American “culture” has been conditioned, people would simply ignore the important things or vote for whichever bill promised more to them (even if such promises were ultimately a lie).
We are trending slowly towards tyranny and we don’t have a populace that can stop it. We aren’t moving towards the liberal Orwellian tyranny that Glen Beck fears or the fascist conservative tyranny that Keith Olberman lament. Rather, we’re moving towards the tyranny of pleasure, the tyranny of the vapid soul. In such a tyranny people are left enjoying the pleasures of life while never growing as a person. They gain in material goods, but lack in everything else. They never truly become a person and therefore never truly become free. Instead, they become slaves to the economy and, even worse, slaves to the government.
We’re certainly not there yet, but if the Republicans forgo their promises (and history has shown us that they most likely will) and ignore what the people want, if our Democratic president and Senate can’t work with our Republican house, then we might as well accept that we’ve fallen headfirst into a tyranny of stupidity.