Political Accountability

Harmlessly passing your time in the grassland away, only dimly aware of a certain unease in the air. You better watch out, there may be dogs about! – Pink Floyd

I cannot tell you how much I despise the political machinations of our democracy.  As we approach the presidential elections in 2012, the annoyance factor increases exponentially with each passing week as the candidates frantically try to sway us into thinking they are the best for us and America.  I have to say, in my opinion, we have a horrible choice of candidates available to us.  Indecision, infidelity, inexperience and insanity — my summation of our choices.

As I’ve mention before, I’d rather have root canal than listen to any more drivel being spewed by all the candidates.  The more I talk to people around me, the more I realize that people do not truly understand their choices, and subsequently, their ability to affect this country.  With each passing election people have become increasingly disenfranchised to the point that they have become utterly confused on what it means to vote in our democracy.  But our duty does not end with casting that ballot, because as we well know, all politicians have the attention span of a goldfish [Which is 12 seconds as determined by a multi-million dollar federal grant to some university — Probably the same one who got a grant to see if shrimp can run on a treadmill].  With such a short attention span, and a general lack of loyalty to their constituents, we must always ensure that we are making ourselves heard by the ones we’ve chosen to represent us.

We are responsible for ensuring that our representatives are doing what we want — and not what they are being paid to do by lobbyists, or other coercive entities, that troll the Capital like remora following a shark.  We must remember that they “represent” us, and it is our responsibility to manage what they vote on.  I know it sounds very idealistic and simplistic, but so many people have forgotten that our politicians are supposed to represent what the we want, and not what they have decided on their own.  Now, we can only blame them so much, because only a small minority of people actively take part in guiding their representatives towards the will of the many.  If we don’t get actively involved, you can be assured that others, who have considerable resources, will drown out the voice of the few with the bullhorn of greed.

Our country is in a very precarious position.  We have over-extended ourselves in so many ways, it’s just a matter of time before it all collapses in on us like a black hole, from which there is no escape.  Unemployment is high, national debt is high, housing values are low, personal stability is low.  We should not couch this in terms of “consumer confidence” any longer, we should call it what it is, “Citizen Confidence”, and we have lost confidence in our leaders — yet we continue to re-elect them.  What’s more, is the fact that we get the usual, corrupt suspects to try to represent us.  Mitt Romney already tried to run for president and failed, does he think we forgot?  Newt Gingrich lives in a world of make-believe.  Rick Perry suffers from the same inexperience as President Obama, though they have the best of intentions – “Hell is full of good wishes and good intentions” St. Bernard.  [L’enfer est plein de bonnes volontés et désirs]

So what are our options?  We could wait patiently for the proverbial “Philosopher King” as Plato suggests or we can actively begin to “Manage Upwards”.  We are not a monarchy, so the people we elect are subject to our will and not vice-versa.  We must stop waiting until an election to expect our representatives to listen to us.  We should be voicing our opinions to them constantly.  We cannot let them continue to stand on the political lies they tell when trying to get elected.  If they say they will lower taxes, force them to vote to lower taxes.  If they do not, then make sure everyone knows that they have not voted in the prescribed manner and don’t re-elect them.  It’s really that simple, but we forget these things.

Take a moment and look at the Occupy movement.  In theory, it is attempting to do the same thing, however, they have not articulated a list of salient points that they wish addressed or the manner in which they wish them to be addressed.  The spirit of the movement is lost in the news stories about the people in the movement, rather than the movement itself.  We have moved beyond the ability to protest, because protests in countries like the USA do not have as much weight as they do in a country that has been systematically oppressed for decades.  We are not oppressed, we are disinterested — that’s the difference.

Everyone needs to take responsibility for the actions of the people they elect.  If you voted for Obama, and you think he’s done a horrible job, don’t re-elect him just because he’s a democrat.  We must move away from this bi-partisan system, and start to investigate other ways to make this country better.  Both of the major parties have significant flaws, and really, if you look at it from outside the party and not as a member of that party, you’ll see that there is clearly no real winner.  This simple fact can been seen by looking at how slim of a margin there has been in the last few presidential elections.  There has been no clear winner in quite some time.  I also find it hard to believe that we are all that polarized.  If we were as polarized as the polls make us look, none of us would be able to coexist, and we do coexist quite well, its our political parties that do not.

So today I just want to end on this note:  Take a long hard look at why you support the politicians you do.  Are they aptly representing everything you want them do?  Are you voting for them based on party or on their accomplishments?  Do you know how to contact any of your representatives? 

2012 is another opportunity for the citizens of this country to make significant change.  Are you willing to be accountable for 2013 and beyond? [Assuming the world doesn’t end 12/21/12]

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Michael Hibbard

I am a writer of dark fantasy and southern gothic literature

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