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Does Voting Matter Anymore?

Our elected leaders act more and more like kings, not representatives of the people.

by
Jeff Pope

Bio

March 12, 2009 - 12:30 am
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Since President Obama’s inauguration, Americans have been subjected to an unprecedented display of political arrogance. The monetary actions of the president and Democrats in both houses are completely untethered from the serious spending concerns of voters of all stripes. Some actions exhibit such a level of self-interest that they are in blatant disregard of the fact that such accountability even exists at all. To believe otherwise is to accept that the majority of Americans would opt, of their own free choice, to take millions from their precious and dwindling resources and spend it on Nancy Pelosi’s little mice. Not likely. We have been shown, in no uncertain terms, that the votes cast last November don’t matter today because “we won.” Unfortunately, the “we” isn’t the voter; it is the politically arrogant officeholders setting the agenda as they see fit.

Political arrogance is far more dangerous than social arrogance. In civil society arrogance is the simple disdain for others due to class, wealth, education, or breeding. It is a trait that America, being egalitarian from its founding, strongly rejects. Political arrogance, however, is a much more virulent strain of the disease because it transforms a politician from a person having an appreciation of being first elected to a position of power into one who believes power naturally comes to him or her because they are uniquely worthy of it. To those who see themselves in this way, the vote of the people does not indicate a preference for a type of governance; nor is it an expression of the general will on specific issues. Rather, electoral victory is an affirmation of their special status as the worthy leaders of the populace at large and an implied acceptance by the voters to be led in whatever direction they deem fit. To the arrogant politician the voter wants me, not someone to represent them and their views. Think Pelosi, Reid, Rangel, Kerry, Dodd, Durbin, etc.

The sense of entitlement to power grows in direct proportion to time in office. Since the vast majority of officeholders, particularly in Washington but also in the states, are well entrenched and have all the benefits of incumbency to rely on, even the pretense of representative politics is often dropped. A particularly clear example is the House action on the stimulus bill. The House went from a unanimous vote to give forty-eight hours for public examination prior to a vote, to a vote within hours of printing a day later without even the pretense of an explanation of their deception. As if to confirm their untouchability, several members openly admitted, without a trace of shame, that they had not even seen the largest spending bill in American history before they voted. Some went so far as criticizing voters for believing they had a right to see the work of the esteemed members of Congress before they voted. How dare we question them! Their loyalty, it is all too apparent, is to the Democratic Party, the primary benefactors who control it, and to ideology. Country and voters be damned in an America flirting with autocracy.

The growing power of government and the arrogance of so many in it pose grave risk to us all. Arrogant people do whatever they want, unconstrained by the caution that ordinary people would tend toward when dealing with matters of overwhelming importance. Thus they stand before the cameras for all of us to see, radiating such obvious self-satisfaction after rushing through trillions in debt to crush generations to come, despite knowing full well they haven’t a clue what is actually changed by their actions. At their most dangerous, they sit in full-throated judgment of people, events, and matters in which they have precious little experience or knowledge, then pass with great certitude sweeping laws, regulations, and restrictions with no apparent concern for their own limitations to act wisely. The average person would both know better than to take risks so blindly and have the sense to go slow and rely on better qualified judgment.

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