It has been suggested that the 300 million people populating the United States are not responsible for the sad state of the country. Only the 545 elected or appointed officials (435 Representative, 100 Senators, 9 Supreme Court Justices, 1 President) who sit at the apex of are government can make the decisions that have plunged the country into the mess we now find ourselves in. They…and they alone…are responsible for the debt, the deficits, wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, our crumbling infrastructure…you name it, they’re responsible for it. None of the heads or members of the various Federal agencies involved in enforcing the laws are responsible. None of the hundreds of lobbyists who ply their trade lavishing favors and campaign cash on our elected representatives are responsible for it. Certainly We, The People aren’t responsible. Only those 545 benighted souls charged with governing the country are responsible.
One has only one question…how did those 545 souls get where they are?
That question really has only one answer. We, The People, put them there. At least, those among us who bothered to show up put them there.
An old political truism holds that democracy belongs to those who show up. In the 2010 general elections, slightly more than 41% of Americans bothered to show up. Here in California, we did slightly better…44% of Californians showed up which may well have saved us from Governor Whitman and Senator Fiorina.
One looks at the public employees and union members in Wisconsin, Michigan and Ohio. Last November, each state elected a Republican Tea Bag governor. Each elected a Republican Tea Bag legislature. Did liberals and progressives show up? Did union members? Or only the Tea Baggers? Are the governors and legislatures doing only what they said they’d do responsible for the mess they’ll leave behind? Does the responsibility belong to those who showed up to put them there? Or does it belong to those who didn’t show up?
The 545 elected and appointed representative sitting in places of power in Washington and their more junior siblings in the various state capitols…including California…do the bidding of those who put them there. Indeed, in recent years, they more or less slavishly do the bidding of those who put them there. Of those who show up. Their job…the old paycheck…depends on it.
Democracy belongs to those who show up. If you don’t like what’s happening in the country and you’re looking for someone to blame for it? Take a good look in the mirror.
And, next time…show up.