Sunday, October 13, 2013

The Mistake We Currently Call Our National Government

As we continue to collectively rant and rave about those out of touch politicians that are making a mess of our country there is something we must remember, this government is our fault.  The very definition of dysfunctional we see playing out in Washington currently is a creation of our making for it was our votes that placed them in office.  It is really quite simple, when knowledge and prudence are not part of the selection process an effective government is not a realistic possibility.  Further, when something is not held accountable there is little motivation for it to act responsibly.  So, we have a government chosen by an ignorant electorate and then allowed to freely exhibit its incompetence without fear of retribution.  These facts make it much easier to understand how we arrived at the point we are today.  We have a president who has absolutely no clue about or interest in leadership, a Democratic Party that has allowed itself to be shanghaied by a trio of deceitful political thugs, and a Republican Party wallowing through a schism between moderates and ideological purists.   The result is the spiteful, confrontational, and failing government we have presently.  One that has already far exceeded its intended role, but continues to insert itself into more facets of our lives all the while becoming increasingly derelict in the execution of its Constitutional duties.

The key ingredient in our government of the people is an electorate that is aware and cares.  First the citizenry must be well-versed on the true role of government, and be vigilant in keeping it confined to its important but limited role.  Qualified people must be chosen for elected office and then their performance must be staunchly evaluated.  Only the very best should be rewarded with the honor of reelection or election to an office of greater responsibility.  We must understand that the immense power that is the ballot far exceeds our petty desire for state bestowed benefits and is deserving of better than our lazy selection process based solely on party affiliation and the extent to which a candidate will cater to us.  When these standards are not adhered to the result is present day America: a nation without direction, a people without a clue, and a government without limits. 

Thomas Jefferson once stated, "If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be."  Unfortunately, the nation he helped to create seems determined to dismiss his sage advice.  Today there is no interest in being engaged in the process.  Politics are boring for many and ignored by most.  This has created an environment where we willing offer up this nation as fertile ground to those eager to exploit it in their efforts to amass power.  Sadly, the nation that defied the old world order and set a new standard for governing is now patronizingly looked upon by those of other countries as a people who willing allow themselves to be taken advantage of.  Ironically, the country that was created to show that self-rule was man’s natural state seems instead determined to prove that the masses are not capable of the rigors of such a burden.  The power of choice must be guided by the knowledge and prudence to choose wisely.   But such is not our current state, for we allow ourselves to be easily sold a bill of bad goods and then be endlessly strung along with promised results that never materialize.  Lies are the gospel and prosperity a thing of the past for ignorance is bliss only for those that ride it to the very heights of power.  We are in the midst of the ultimate nightmare of our democratic republic, an elected government chosen by an electorate of fools.  
Ideologues beget ideologues.  Regardless of the flowery campaign rhetoric about creating a new age of abundant bipartisanism, na├»ve is an understatement for anyone that believed an ardent lifelong member of the far left would be capable of the type of political tolerance and leadership necessary to achieve such lofty aspirations.  To add insult to injury, not only have we not experienced a great coming together but instead an exponentially more adversarial relationship between the two major parties, and in turn their supporting constituencies.  This situation of hardening views is the direct result of the election of a socialist president who along with a small and dedicated patronage has eagerly moved the Democratic Party progressively left and the rise of an ultraconservative contingent in the Republican Party in response.  We now have a government capable of creating only gridlock and stalemate with little prospect for anything better.   The fundamental changing of America that many voters bought hook, line, and sinker in the past two presidential elections has yielded only a government increasingly at odds with itself as each party fortifies positions on opposite sides of the political spectrum.  Ideologues by their very definition are incapable of compromise, and a two party system grinds to a halt when compromise is dismissed as an option.

We are upset with a government of our own choosing, and according to recent polls sentiment is growing that we should expel all currently in office and begin anew.  The problem with that idea is that it does not address the root cause of our current ineffectual government.  When the same electorate uses the same selection criteria and then holds them equally unaccountable, the result will be more of the same.  It is much harder to admit a problem when you are the problem, so we point the finger at the result and curse the mysterious external force that burdened us with this endlessly bickering government of liars, cheaters, and crooks.   The key to fixing our government is to fix the way we select those that serve and our expectations of them.  Mistakes are lessons about what not to do, future elections will determine if we have learned the lessons of this mistake we currently call our national government.