Friday, June 29, 2012

Democracy Disconnected

No doubt remains that there is a profound disconnect between the people of this state and nation and their elected representatives.

Among the current inhabitants of the Capitol, either in Washington or Madison, there is a high degree of comfort with today's politics, and especially with the role money plays. And that peace of mind with respect to how the game is played crosses party lines.

Venture off Capitol Hill and across the Potomac, and you find a bipartisan consensus that the political game is rigged and the players are crooked. Same's true closer to home when you leave Wisconsin's Capitol Square.

According to the recently released "American Values Survey" by the Aspen Institute and The Atlantic magazine, seven in 10 Americans believe the actions of elected officials reflect the values of the wealthy, not those of working-class people. Americans are united in their belief that money and lobbyists have too much influence in politics, with 78% of Republicans and 73% of Democrats agreeing on this point. Eight in 10 Americans believe there is too much money spent on election campaigns, with 83% of Republicans and 80% of Democrats agreeing with the following statement: "There is too much money concentrated among a small number of groups and individuals spent on political campaigns in America, and strict limits should be placed on campaign spending and contributions."

Supermajorities of people of every political stripe are sick and tired of the rigged political game and the crooked players. Yet those players, the elected representatives of the sick and tired, stubbornly resist reform and shamelessly cater to the small number of groups and individuals who supply them with their campaign money.

In a country whose founders rebelled against taxation without representation, we now have elected officials giving their cash constituents representation without taxation. What do their voting constituents get? Sicker and more tired.

It'll end some day, but not until the bipartisan citizen consensus that the system is sick turns into a bipartisan rebellion against those who spread the disease.

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