Today it seems that we the people have a very low approval level of our congress and senate as a group,right below used car salesmen in bright plaid jackets who never stop talking. There seems to me to be outrage at our legislative body and the mood is to vote the incumbents out of office.I am all in favor of this but, will it happen? Yes to some extent but probably not enough to make the change we need.
While the public mood seems to be anti incumbent ,when voters get to the pole they tend to vote for their current representatives because of name recognition and a poor understanding of their record.Basically voters are very undereducated.Do you know how your representatives voted on health care, the tax cuts ,and other major issues? Is your representative acting in the interest of your state or for all of us?Is your representative being unduly influenced by corporate america.Is he/she a crook?
Take for example the current mess with rep. Rangel.Most probably believe that he is against corporate america,you know, more to the left.But based on his current investigation he is accused of giving tax breaks to a big oil drilling corporation in exchange for a big donation to a building in his district.I as I hope most voters think this is hypocritical ,illegal, and just plain wrong.But I do not live in his district so can not vote against him and I bet even money he has a good chance of being reelected if hes not in jail or maybe even if he is. This is because everyone in his district knows who he is ,sees his name on buildings,and feels he has done a good job for NYC ,but what about the country?Remember , he votes on laws that affect all of us.
Just the opposite occurred in the primaries in south carolina where a Mister Alvin Greene won the democratic primary for the senate.He did not have his name on any buildings or roads.In fact very few people had ever heard of him.He ran no campaign at all ,never gave a speech or printed posters or bumper stickers.While I think its great that a citizen with no power,or money can raise to such a level,it speaks volumes about the voters. We are not engaged.No one who voted for Mr. Greene had any idea where he stood on any issue yet voted for him.It is like betting on a race horse because you like his name.The people who voted for Mr. Greene should have their voter registration revoked until they become more educated on the candidate and the issues.We get what we vote for and then complain and moan when things don't work out so well.I have no idea how we better educate the voters to become more engaged . It is a matter of responsibility.
Very frequently candidates make promises and this influences our vote.Some promises are just lies,others are real but are not doable once in office due to the candidates ignorance,some are tried and blocked.We must be aware of these promises and learn from them and hold the candidate responsible.When JFK promised to put a man on the moon within the decade he energized the nation when we needed it and delivered on his promise.Nixon had a "secret plan to end the war" Not so sure about this one.Remember the "no new taxes pledge" Oh well conditions changed.My favorite was Kerry who promised if elected"he would bring back all those good jobs that went abroad"This coming from a man who's wife'company had almost all of its manufacturing off shore,and its still there.Did we really believe this nonsense?Just not possible and we should have knownThen there are the perennial promises of fixing the school system and my favorite energy independence.Todays promises are not working out so well.Fiscal discipline, c-span , close Guantanmo,open government,no more lobby influence,no more pork,no more high unemployment,the summer of recovery,American jobs etc.If we as voters believe all the promises then things dont work out we are quick to complain and to point the finger at the other side when we should point the finger at ourselves. We get what we vote for.
So the result is that we all want change but we tend to vote for our own representative and change never really happens.