Politicians are supposed to be our representatives to the government. They’re supposed to serve the public and, despite their personal opinions or beliefs, present the will of the people to Congress and the President. Their primary duty, aside from this, is to do what they believe is best for the people; but they do not fulfill their duty.
In fact most politicians will spend their days in power working with special interest groups, accepting glorified bribes or flat out abusing it. This then begs the question: Why do we keep electing politicians who we have little to no confidence in? There is no one answer to this question, rather, a combination of reasons.
For starters, people tend to think of their own representatives as more trustworthy than others because they’ve done things in the past to actually support their constituency. This is a trend among politicians who consistently retain their positions in office. They run on an issue that is supported by their voters, maybe keep to their word on that issue after elections, but then turn around and do as they please. The media is also partially responsible for this because of their incessant focus on petty and minuscule topics – topics that the candidates must then formulate a strong opinion on – which then end up being the deciding factors for most voters rather than the issues that really matter.
A common example of this would be the constant babble over America’s superiority versus the other candidate’s “mistaken” opinion that we have improvements to make. These sorts of “Ra-Ra, America!” speeches are partly what corrupt elections and diminish the value of voting. It’s socio-political tribalism and it’s getting dangerously close to blind patriotism and fervent nationalism.
Another problem that plagues the system is the “lesser of two evils” fallacy. More often than not, an election presents only two options: a Democratic candidate and a Republican one, and both candidates tend to hold the same general ideals with a few small subjects that they disagree on. Essentially the Democrats and Republicans are the same party, but have convinced the public that the country is separated by two massively opposed ideologies. In fact, once they are in office, both the Democrats and Republicans support corporatism, militarism, redistribution of wealth, a monetary and economic system that is broken and special interests that are no good for the American people, and the list doesn’t end there.
The truth is that the Democratic and the Republican Party have more in common than they do not. We elect a Democrat one election, get sick of him or her, then elect a Republican next election – rinse and repeat.
So why don’t we give ourselves more options? Why don’t we stand up and say, “Enough! I’m going to vote for someone who shares my ideals instead of voting for Candidate A just so Candidate B doesn’t get elected!” Well, because we’re lazy and we’re caught up in thinking we have no power to change the system. I say forget about the Democrats, Republicans and the Tea Party, and start voting for third parties because we need to start showing that we’re not interested in their games anymore. Perhaps we’ll stop having to play them and instead start having meaningful conversations and elections. Maybe one day even the word “politician” will stop being so dirty.
Jacque Fresco once said, “It takes a different value system if you wish to change the world.”