More public participation needed in government
Posted: Thursday, November 8, 2012 7:00 pm
By THE TENNESSEAN
The impulse one feels after such an ugly, bruising and never-ending election season as this is to fantasize about the sense of relief, perhaps of triumph, that will wash over us after a winner is announced and the TV ads have ceased.
But that sense of relief this year probably will be short-lived, if it occurs at all. Our nation faces daunting challenges domestically and internationally, and we are less prepared than ever to face up to them.
This is primarily because our political system is broken, and our trust in it shaken to the core. In 21st-century America, super PACS will call the shots. Whether it’s large corporations or organized labor, special-interest groups now can spend unlimited amounts of money to buy the candidate they want and tell him or her how to vote on legislation favorable to their corporation or union.
It’s infuriating, but fuming is not enough. If we, as Americans, decide we can’t tolerate unelected entities dictating to our government, we’ll have a mountain to climb to effect that change. After all, the U.S. Supreme Court gave the stamp of approval to this orgy of waste and secrecy.
It will take a Congress no longer dominated by lawmakers who accept fat contributions for us to change campaign finance laws — or a movement to amend the Constitution. Either path is daunting.
To overcome this, individual Americans will have to become more active in and knowledgeable about their federal, state and local government than ever before. Whether you work a minimum-wage job or head a major company, if you believe in the principles that made this nation great, you can no longer expect your vote to be enough.
Too few Americans have ever truly participated in government, and that’s a shame. If ever there was a way to get people of honesty and integrity back in office, this is it. Published in The WCP 11.8.12