Many people are frustrated with the stagnation in our Government. Congress has a 6% approval rating, and has been around this low for a very long time. The latest criticisms of the surveillance of American citizens in the Verizon/NSA case, and the Obama administrations unprecedented prosecution of whistleblowers, shows that the patience we have shown for our elected officials is only emboldening them. This has been crushingly disappointing to me personally, as someone who voted for Obama in '08, and who saw the end of the Bush years as a real opportunity for change that was squandered. Every time a new scandal comes up involving government overreach, corruption, and increasing militarization the same question is voiced by the citizens: But what can I do?
Often the discussion devolves into a lesser of two evils argument, though those adhering to that philosophy themselves admit its not working and they don't like having to do it. Much of it is characterized as willful blindness, but I think in more people it is actually a feeling of powerlessness. We need to take stock of the situation ourselves, and remove the false endless horse race view of politics the media perpetuates for its own financial needs to look beyond the next year or two. Let's seriously ask ourselves what our goals are, and what the costs may be to achieve them. Is electing people who do not represent us, but instead do the bidding of corporate backers winning? No, its a false victory, if any. However, I understand the fear many have that if they try to break this bi-partisan march in the wrong direction, they will only get more of what they don't want (For Dems, it's a Republican, and for the GOP vice versa). We have to reframe this in terms of our own needs, not our fears. That's the only way to truly win.
We know that continuing in this back and forth isn't going to improve things. At best it is perceived as a slowing of the descent by the members of whichever party is in power. We have to try something different if we want Monsanto out of the FDA, Wall Street reigned in, and to change the fact that more money is spent on the US military than all other countries combined while our country is going broke. We have to let these politicians know that their jobs are on the line when we are ignored, be it on Background Checks for firearms, an end to the racist War on Drugs, or a public option for health care (all of which an overwhelming majority of Americans want).
So I suggest we put our elected officials on notice. I understand that many cannot bring themselves to not vote for their usual party once Election Day rolls around, but there's a first step we could take to send a message loud and clear that we are fed up, and there is a point where we will not tolerate the betrayal of our consent. We can let them know, yes, your job does depend on what we think, and your responsiveness to our needs.
If you have had enough, its time to send your elected officials a message: Unregister as Dem or GOP and re-register as an independent or 3rd Party. Then lets see if they finally start to respond. If it comes to it, we will make a change, even if we lose a battle or two, we will win the war. If you agree with the scientific consensus on climate change, we really cannot afford to put those short term losses those devastating consequences.
In the long view, sacrificing an election or two is worth actually fixing the problems. It may seem counterintuitive, but what we have right now is not winning. Right now we are powerless, and I suggest we grab up our self-respect and demand the dignity of our government respecting our needs. With this action we can simultaneously pull the two sellout parties back from the wrong path, and build up some options to leave them if they continue to abuse our trust and the power we invest in them. I think they'll get the message, but either way, it's better than feeling like you have to just silently go along with what you know is wrong.