You’re the boss; you own a small company with about 200 employees who are the face of your business to the public; what they say binds you.
You hire Bob Brightguy, and tell him go forth and do.
Then you go do something else for a while. Services are rendered and billing works in your name.
When it’s time for contract renewal, you look over the list of employees up for renewal, you say “Oh, I know that name. Yeah, keep him.” and you go play more golf.
That’s what WE THE PEOPLE seem to be doing with our elected officials. They’re our employees!
We’re not paying attention to how Bob Brightguy votes on routine issues. Does he go along to get along, doing as the party says? Does he introduce legislation that’s good for the entire county/state/country? Does he automatically say “no” to ideas that aren’t part of his list of interests? Is he swayed by unions, associations, lobbying groups, or individuals with deep pockets? What other sources of income does he have besides what WE THE PEOPLE pay?
When it’s re-election time, we get bombarded with “look what I did for you” mail, e-mail, and phone calls. Well, to be even more frank, often we get “look what a scumbag the other guy is” instead, or “Fred Flamelight hates redheads, so vote for me.” communications instead.
Can you name one piece of legislation your State Delegate or Senator introduced? Do you know how s/he voted on legislation that’s important to you? Do you look to see whether the legislation s/he votes for is giving power to the government or taking it away, and cast your votes accordingly?
What is your federal representative an expert on? What Committees does s/he sit on? How does s/he vote on routine issues? Is s/he party-line, and does that meet your approval?
I ask all this because I was part of a discussion recently where someone was complaining about a ballot issue on our November ballot, and whining that s/he didn’t know anything about it until s/he got to the polls. ( I’m leaving alone for now the whole issue of a responsible voter learning BEFORE election day what will be on the ballot.) The issue was a Constitutional Amendment, which by law our legislature must pass it in identical form two years in a row; then they must pass a bill dictating exactly the wording to appear on a ballot. So by the time the voters see it in November, it has been through the General Assembly twice.
Confidence in our politicians has dropped to atrocious levels over the past few decades, yet WE THE PEOPLE don’t know what our legislators stand for. Often we don’t know their real stance on issues of importance to us, we don’t know whether their voting record matches their campaign promises, and sometimes we just vote because s/he has a D, R, L, IG, S, or I after his name.
Wake up, voters. Pay attention – or you get the government you have now, with an approval rating in the cellar and the power to do just about anything they want because they know you won’t listen to anything but Fox or MSNBC, if that.