After watching the Arizona republican debate I found it quite ironic how open politicians are of saying that other politicians are corrupt, how bad congress is, and how ineffective they are. I think the latest poll shows that congress is at about an 18% approval rating, the Cleveland Browns have a higher approval rating and they haven’t been relevant since the late 1980’s. So if it is common knowledge that congress is “broke” why aren’t we trying to fix it? Is it that we don’t know the problems or we don’t know the answers? Maybe it is many people think it is a problem that they cannot fix on their own. If we are looking for the “problems” in congress I am sure we can come up with a laundry list of problems, and I strive to keep my posts brief and not get on my soap box. What I want to look at is how us voters cause some of these problems.
Recently I saw a political conference in Chicago on TV. The speaker, who I unfortunately did not write down his name, showed graphs comparing bipartisan bills in congress in the 1960’s, 1980’s, and today. The graph showed that at each stage less and less bipartisan bills are being passed. That means less and less compromise is happening in Congress. We get bills that are heavily democratic or heavily republican that help the rich or the poor but not the average American. Maybe this is how we are at a stage where the middle class american’s income is stagnant while the people living in poverty increase and the wealthy become wealthier. We the voters are to blame, when politicians campaign we value politicians that have high voting rates with their parties, and attack those who “voted with the enemy”. There is even a website that gives you the percentage of how often a congressman votes with their party. We are attacking and punishing congressman who compromise and re-elect those who do not. More so we neglect 3rd party or independent candidates, people who would be more likely to compromise, not play to agenda’s met by the two main parties, and vote for interests of middle class Americans. Now I don’t claim this is the only thing wrong with congress, nor the most important thing that needs to change. Merely I am suggesting that this is the one thing, the easiest way we can affect change.
In closure this November we can neglect alternate parties or independents, villainize politicians who compromise, pay attention to the mudslinging that politicians do, not research candidates, and vote for the guy we saw on TV, or the guy that represents the party that we affiliate with. What we should do is vote for anyone else. You won’t waste your vote, even if a major party candidate wins, parties will see that a growing number of people are unhappy with them, and because they want to get re-elected they will change. A favorite quote of mine goes “if you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten”, then we can acknowledge, if it’s broke don’t fix it.