When people complain about our government, I often just kind of shake my head. Not because their gripes aren’t valid, but because ultimately our government is elected by us. As terrible as our government might be much of the time, and as disgruntled as many Americans are with both Democrats and Republicans, the bottom line is these politicians don’t get elected into public office unless we elect them.
The truth is the change we want in our government is found whenever any of us looks in the mirror. I know it seems insurmountable because it’s natural for many Americans to think to themselves, “What does my one vote change?” But imagine for a moment if the tens of millions of Americans who felt that same way all went out and voted. At the end of the day, we all only get one vote.
But another issue is that as voters we are too easily manipulated. We choose the politicians who lie to us the best. We don’t really want to hear the truth. We want politicians who are going to tell us exactly what we want to hear.
Think about modern day campaigns – they’re not even about issues anymore. They’re just back and forth attack ads telling you how “terrible” their opponent is. The Republican party won these victories all across the country with most of their candidates running not on their record, but by trying to tie their opponent to President Obama.
Their campaigns essentially went like this:
You want to know what I stand for? Not Obama! God Bless America! Support our troops! (Wild applause from the audience)
It was like watching a scene from the Will Ferrell movie The Campaign.
But there is one issue where Democrats, Republicans and independents alike seem to agree: nobody likes our Congress. In fact, according to Gallup, Congress’s approval rating sits at about 14 percent. Which, sadly, is up from the 9 percent it was at not too long ago.
Yet despite that atrocious approval rating, congressional incumbents get re-elected about 95 percent of the time.
That is one of the main reasons why our government is so terrible. We have a Congress that almost nobody approves of, yet nearly every election cycle 95 percent of that very same Congress gets re-elected.
It’s like a really bad relationship where 95 percent of the time you go back to the very same person who made you miserable.
But like we saw this election year, far too few Americans vote. While Republicans celebrate their huge victories this year, we should all actually be mourning one of the saddest days for democracy we’ve seen in decades.
A day where practically every Republican who’s been a part of one of the most obstructive political movements in history won re-election. But not only that, the party that’s done everything they possible could to make our government as inefficient as possible just gained even more power.
So, if we want to bring about real change to our government, it starts with us. Because at the end of the day, if we’re giving Congress an approval rating of 14 percent, but rehiring the individuals who comprise that Congress at a rate of 95 percent, we only have ourselves to blame.
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