Friday, February 18, 2011

Poll position

Politicians love polls because they tell them what to do. 80% of people hate cigarettes? Let's write as many laws as we can to crack down on smoking. 63% of Americans hate Mexicans? Let's kick 'em all out then! 59% of Americans think evolution is a myth? Let's start teaching creationism in schools!

This is how virtually all government decisions are made these days. Our duly elected cowards sit around waiting for us to tell them what to do.

But that's not how it's supposed to work.

We're supposed to elect people because we trust their judgement. We believe they will ultimately do what is right for our city, our state or our country.

It's called representative democracy. And it happens to be the system our founding fathers wrote into the constitution. Wikipedia has a great definition:

"The representatives form an independent ruling body (for an election period) charged with the responsibility of acting in the people's interest, but not as their proxy representatives not necessarily always according to their wishes, but with enough authority to exercise swift and resolute initiative in the face of changing circumstances."

Not only does our system allow elected officials to make decisions that go against the public's wishes, it actually encourages it. It was designed to protect against the "tyranny of the majority", whereby the masses use the strength of their numbers to push an agenda that is either unlawful or ill advised.

So when some politician trots out a poll that says most Americans don't like the healthcare plan, I say who the fuck cares? Our constitution says that you don't have to like it.

Let's face it, nobody likes change. Nobody likes being told what to do. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't address our problems.

It's like when you hear about parents who won't make their children do something because the kids say they won't like it. Who gives a shit? Kids need to learn that the world doesn't revolve around them.

And so do our fellow citizens. Not every new program or policy is intended to make us happy. Some things need to be done for the good of the country. And some of those things are difficult. It takes a politician with some balls to actually recognize this and push things forward even when everyone's crying about it.

So next time you see one of our elected officials claiming he's acting according to the American people's wishes, take a minute to send him a quick note.

And tell him to stop doing what everyone wants and start doing his fucking job.

No comments:

Post a Comment