No Longer Representative

America had a political system that worked well for us once.  We were a place where, for the most part, our elected representatives found ways to work together save a few moments in history.  Unfortunately, we've come to realize over time our political system has become a system monopolized by two parties and their interests, leaving us with no say if we want something else or different.  For a time we were able to tolerate it as they usually still found ways to legislate and come together on important issues.  Finding common ground was not World War III in and of itself.

That's changed, for as the two party system has become more obviously a tool for large interests, so have the two parties begun to circle the wagons in support of themselves. They did this both as the two parties monopolizing our system and as individual parties, like two wealthy siblings that hate each other, but would kill rather than let anyone in on what they believe to be their sole inheritance.

When we see them on news broadcasts now and watch two members of Congress sitting next to each other, often their combined body language is of two people trying to block others from getting at what's behind them. It's as though in as much as they are trying to seem like they are working together or opposite each other, depending on how upset we are with Congress, they also strive to keep us from being able to touch what their work has come to represent.

The two parties' monopoly over our system has become a business rather than a vehicle to being a public servant working towards the greater good. They've become two groups that if they dance together just right, can stay wealthy powerful and in control. They do this by keeping those few that have become wealthier while the rest of us have become poorer, wealthier and more powerful. It's not only become their way of life, it's become straight up business.

Due to the fact our political system is set up to protect wealthy corporations by allowing them to contribute what they want to campaigns through various means, they control the political system. If you work for the little guy then the wealthy will abandon you in your reelection effort and you will lose. They will find things from your past and, whether they really qualify as such or not, turn them into the most salacious political scandals of the year. Either that, or radio and TV ads touting their candidate of choice's positions will effectively drown out the message you have to offer.

They end up bought and paid for and not only are today's politicians protecting their own political monopoly, by doing so, they are protecting wealthy interests and the legislation and bills favoring those interests that get passed. With regards to serving the public interest, they have become as useless as a security guard that suffers severe panic attacks when confronted and is afraid to go into their own house. The gap between the wealthy and the rest of America has grown and the quality of life for the average American - the vast majority of us - has worsened, meaning the efforts of Congress have only worked for less than 1% of us.

Think of the last three years and the hyper-partisanship they brought us. How has that served the country? Things were like that over the course of the Bush administration and the Clinton administration only not as bad. The status quo in Washington has been growing more and more partisan. At the same time more money has been poured into political campaigns for candidates from the two parties. More legislation has been written by lobbyists working for wealthy interests. More such bills have passed the chambers of Congress and have been signed off on by our presidents.

The two party system has enabled and facilitated this. The very process itself has led to American jobs being shipped overseas, large corporations that enjoy protection from our military being considered "national financial interests" though those interests are incorporated overseas in tax shelters and contribute little to no taxes forcing us to pay for their military protection though they hire no Americans overseas, the allowing of Glass-Steagall to be repealed and the legalization of credit default swaps and the myriad other financial practices that led to the recession we are currently trying to recover from, the Iraq War, our credit rating being devalued and more.

It isn't the fault of Democrats, Republicans, the current president or any of his predecessors - not alone. They are all culpable and over time have become like wealthy sports teams protecting their brand name and piece of the shared pie. They are wholly concerned with watching the throne and not much else.

Over the last three years think about how much bickering and arguing they have done on Capitol Hill. Over that time how many really meaningful pieces of legislation have been passed? Can you count them on more than one hand? How many do you think should have been passed? Right now it isn't Republicans or Democrats or their candidates for president, the Senate or the House that are the issue or problem alone no matter what some cheesy Kool-Aid super-pac commercial tells you. It's all of them combined.

The current problems we have were caused by both of the parties that have outlived their usefulness in a global, multi-cultural and ever technologically evolving world. They have been holding the reigns for over 100 years and nobody else has been allowed to step into the fray. They ensured this by usurping control of the once independent sponsorship body of the presidential debates (the League of Women Voters) now controlled by the two parties calling themselves the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD). It's run by Republican and Democratic big wigs holding hands and deciding who gets to participate in the debates, what questions will be asked, who the moderators will be etc. Nothing happens without their say so.

It's unfair to the rest of us. Can we really say they are doing the best for us? We are paying them for a service. Are we getting our money's worth? Wouldn't we be better off if in Congress we had not just two but maybe four or five parties so when there came times like these when loggerheads could not be broken between two parties other people, not feeling so pouty or jealous of their power, could step in and work together from varying perspectives? They could do this not only to pass bills, but to ensure many perspectives were represented in them. Not just one side or the other, but the voices of a diverse swath of American voices.

Ronald Reagan once implored us to ask ourselves if we thought we were better off now than we were four years ago. That question is good for today too, only now in addition we should ask if we really think electing a person from the other side of the isle would really change things significantly for us - not because they are any better or any worse, but because of how much the same they are. That's regardless of your pick for 2012. Are they really representing the interests of you and your neighbors now or themselves and those of wealthy interests? If you and your neighbors are wealthy interests well that's fine for you. But, for the majority of us that just isn't good enough. We need better, we deserve better and we should have better and we currently have no choices that can or will give that to us. Everything else gets upgraded, so why hasn't our political system?

To read about my inspiration for this article go to www.lawsuitagainstuconn.com.

 

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