Politicians: barriers to democracy?


Having finished Chapter 5 (or whatever it will be) of my novel on Tuesday, I will do a little blogging to keep my inner drill sergeant happy. And, coincidentally, military metaphors seem apt for this post.

Though I did not watch it, it is hard to avoid the fact the red Republicrat candidates for president (for that election 16 months away) “debated” and bashed the blue Republicrats earlier this week. At least I think it was earlier this week. Every morning the news is so saturated by candidate comments and analysis of who “won” and who proved themselves the most that I wonder if I am stuck in the summer version of Groundhog Day. Even Bobblehead, the indefatigable polisci addict and fascist vagina enthusiast, added his own two bits.

While everyone else is going gaga over the “debate” (from what I have seen, it seemed more like advertising), I cannot help shuttering from disgust, especially since my bookmark is stuck in the middle of The Third Reich in Power. Call me a cynic, or just plain selfish, but I do not trust anyone vying for a job to make decisions for me.

Though the president is not an absolute dictator, able to do whatever he/she wishes, presidential campaigns often make it feel that way. In 2008, I received a ton of anti-Obama emails from my ├╝ber conservative uncle. Obama will do this. Obama will do that. Obama believes this. Obama did that. He made if seem like we were electing a supreme leader who would do whatever he wanted for four years, until we had the chance to reelect or kick him off the throne in favor of a new supreme leader. At one point I just sent him the link to the Wikipedia page for checks and balances. Regardless, John McCain was the man, the leader, for him.

Just as I find the Nazis unbreakable devotion to Hitler mindboggling, I cannot understand my fellow Americans, like my uncle, who become intensely loyal to presidential or congressional candidates. The amount of trust and faith is beyond me because, frankly, I would rather be making the decisions myself.

The other day I got to wondering: why do we even have politicians — presidents, senators, representatives, mayors, governors, councilors, supervisors? Are politicians necessary? Why can we not make decisions ourselves instead of entrusting someone to do it for us?

(People always bitch about the influence of special interests in our political system, and they are always discussing ways to get the money out of politics. Though I am unsure if we can ever take the money out of politics, I know we can certainly take out the politicians. What are special interests going to do if we are all decision makers, if we all had the power to legislate and make laws and regulations? Give everyone a million-dollar check?)

Yes, I’m talking about direct democracy, or at least some type of grassroots/localized/bottom-up version of democracy. Its logistics and implementation is a whole other bag of goodies, but its theory is intriguing and appealing. Why endure the nauseating debates, rhetoric, empty promises, and scandals of politicians when everyone is mayor, governor, and president? Instead of limiting the power of legislation to elected lawmakers, why not empower ourselves?

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