Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Coming Sea Change in American Politics

Just as this blog was about to pontificate on the change in attitude of American voters, up pops this article citing Judicial Watch’s “Ten Most Wanted Corrupt Politicians” for 2009.

I swear this Internet thingy can read my mind. It’s like it has ESPN or something.

Let’s take a quick look at who’s on this list. Chris Dodd, John Ensign, Barney Frank, Tim Geithner, Eric Holder, a tie between Jessie Jackson Jr. and Roland Burris, Charlie Rangel, Nancy Pelosi, John Murtha and last but not least, Barack Obama. Five Representatives, three Senators, one Treasury Secretary, one Attorney General, one Speaker of the House and one President. All still currently “serving”, as though they can be corrupt and still consider themselves public servants.

And yes, this blog is aware that totals up to twelve. One tie and one Representative is also the House Speaker.

Ask yourself: Is this what you voted for?

When you entered the voting booth to pick someone to act in your place in Washington, did you knowingly pick someone who wouldn’t abide by the rules? Who would listen and act, not according to your wishes, but those of special interests and organizations who act in direct opposition to your values? If you knew then what you know now, would you still vote the same way?

Corrupt politicians have been around as long a politics itself. One of our failings as humans is a desire to skirt the rules, much like a child raiding the cookie jar. We know we shouldn’t do it, but if feels so delicious sometimes we just can’t help ourselves. However, this practice becomes a serious crime when money is involved. Politicians who trade money for political favors are among the lowest form of vertebrates.

A lesser form of corruption, one which has become particularly prominent in today’s politics, is a lack of response to the will of the people. The health care bill currently stalled in Congress is a prime example. Poll after poll has shown increasing public resistance to this bill in its current form, yet Democrats haven’t altered the bill in response. They continue to force this unpopular bill down the throats of an America they see as just too dumb to understand a bill that they themselves haven't read. As time passes and more of the populace discovers the details of this monumentally misguided piece of legislation, the more we don’t want it.

This action is so commonplace that we’ve somehow come to accept it. We know it’s wrong, it’s unfair, it’s a betrayal of the public trust necessary for a free society to function effectively, yet we still have a strange tolerance for it.

Or at least we did.

Future candidates need to understand that they will be scrutinized as never before. An informed electorate will be able to have a much better idea of who they are voting into office, and once there, they will be under the electronic microscope of the Internet. No longer will deals be done in smokey back rooms with shady characters. Expect someone with a camera or video recorder to be nearby asking questions and demanding straight answers.

The era of truly open government has begun.

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