I spend a lot of time - more than is healthy probably - fretting over the state of politics today. It seems that government at all levels has become dysfunctional: Congress and the president have been incapable or unwilling to even agree on a means to keep the government operating for more than a few months at a time; the State is grappling with a budget mess that defies solution; and the town council has the citizens in an uproar over something as basic as simply following the zoning requirements. Clearly something is wrong when our elected officials can't even manage the fundamentals of governing let alone lead us out of our current financial quagmire into a brighter future.
Problem solving, I was taught, first requires that the "root cause" of the problem be identified. This is not as simple as it may seem because often there are many contributing factors to any situation, and sometimes a symptom of a problem may appear on the surface as the cause when there is something more basic, more fundamental at work that has yet to be identified. So I have begun to consider what may be the root cause of the political malaise that has engulfed us, and I have come to a preliminary theory.
Money, of course, is always suspect when considering a corrupt or ineffective system, be it not enough of it or, as evidenced by the current presidential primary process, so much of it that it subverts the process. No one would argue, I think, that money can buy influence in government, or all those lobbyists would be out of work; we may soon find out if seemingly unlimited money can buy the whole government.
As significant as campaign financing and lobbying have become in influencing government at every level, I don't think it is the root cause of our problems. Government, after all, is no better than the men and women we elect to represent us and conduct the business of government on our behalf and in our interests. It's my opinion that a majority of our elected government, at all levels, are either incompetent, i.e., they want to serve their constituents but are simply not up to the task of standing up to corrupting influences, or they are in cahoots with those who would put there own special interests above the public interest. Either way, our elected officials simply are not serving our interests in a way that democratically elected representatives should.
I think most office seekers, with the probable exception of those pursuing the presidency, the highest office in the land, undertake the journey with good intentions and earnestly want to serve their constituents to the best of their ability. The current class of congressional freshmen from the Tea Party are, I think, sincere in their desire to change the way government operates, but even they are coming to recognize the frustration, maybe even futility, of working against the moneyed interests that control our government. After a time most of them, I predict, will cross over to be "in cahoots" with the plutocrats and the rest, if they are reelected, will soon be relegated to incompetence as they are unable to effect any change to the system. None will make a difference in how the system works because the system is rigged against them.
Everybody campaigns on a promise to make a difference and yet nobody does, because they are either in cahoots or incompetent. So what's an electorate to do? Somehow, we have to change the system ourselves and not wait for our elected representatives to do it (because they can't, or won't). We have the power to change government we just haven't used it. It's called "mass communication".
If elected officials start hearing from overwhelming numbers of us that we demand economic fairness, a health care system driven by efficient, effective care instead of profits, a tax system that values income produced by labor as much as investment income, and opportunity to succeed based on creativity and initiative instead of inherited wealth, then that is what we will get. Poll after poll confirms that the American public wants and values these things so why don't the politicians enact them? Because they are incompetent or in cahoots. We the people need to empower them by showing universal support for real change,not just self-serving lip service to change. We can argue about what the change should look like, but let's all agree that change must come.
So now you are on notice: if you want change just get the contact info for your Representative and Senators (google can give you this) and send each of them an email telling them what you want. If you don't do this RIGHT NOW you are incompetent - or in cahoots. There simply is no other explanation.
If enough of us speak, they will listen - one thing they understand is how to get re-elected.