The Enemy Is Us
Watching the news tonight I heard that a Pew poll suggests that 98% of Americans are upset, disgusted, etc. with Congress about what happened this week in Washington. Yes, the popularity of Congress is at a low ebb. The President's numbers might not be good but they tower over those of Congress.
But if there is finger pointing to be done, maybe we need to follow the lead of this famed Pogo comic and look in the mirror. If Congress is such a horrible institution, then the people who elect these people need to be held accountable. Guess what, that electorate is you and me, unless you decide not to vote. I know this is not a popular thing to say, but as far as I'm concerned, if you don't vote then you should keep quiet. You have not helped the situation.
Voting is a privilege that few people in the world have, but Americans take this right/privilege for granted, and vote whenever they please (or don't as the case may be. America is a democracy, which means that the ultimate governmental force is "We the People." So, if you don't like Congress then vote for a different person. Ironically, if you ask most people, they like their own representatives. The problem isn't my representative, it's your representative! So, maybe we're at an impasse.
So, here's my word of advice, rooted in frustration not with Congress but with the electorate, get involved, get informed, and make a good decision. If Congress is dysfunctional then take a good look in the mirror, because the person you vote for is also part of the problem. And, as I said, if you choose not to vote, then don't complain.
Oh, and speaking of being informed! If you live in Troy, MI and you like having a library and good services and want the value of your house to return to its former value, then go to the polls tomorrow and vote yes. The message you're getting from the vote no people, much of it is bogus. Be informed, check the numbers for yourself, don't take their word for it!
As a word of closing I again turn to Parker Palmer:
In American style-democracy, the incessant conflicts of political life are meant to be contained within a dialectic of give-and-take, generating and even necessitating collaboration and inventiveness. These principles create a political system that can and does try our souls. It frustrates, maddens, exhausts, appalls us when big problems go unsolved because we cannot muster enough agreement to solve them or when problems we thought had put to rest are called back into play.
And yet this is one of the most crucial lessons of the twentieth century, one that we forget at our peril: tension is a sign of life, and the end of tension is a sign of death. (Parker Palmer, Healing the Heart of Democracy, pp. 75-76).