December 1, 2014

What does an election mean?

In America today, there are basically two competing notions of what an election means.  The first idea we inherit from the framers of the US Constitution.  The purpose of an election is to let the people choose individuals from their own ranks to represent their local interests in a wider sphere of government.  “Government of the people, by the people, and for the people,” to use Abraham Lincoln’s phrase.  The framers were not radical democrats.  They recognized the considerable talents of elites by creating the US Senate, a body not elected by the public until the 17th Amendment was passed in 1913.  However, the framers put the powers of taxation and spending firmly in the hands of the House of Representatives – as a protection against concentrating too much power in too few hands.  Under such a system, the elites still did the greater share of the planning – but the people’s direct representatives had the final say.

The elites that now govern practically every aspect of our lives have an entirely different idea of what an election means.  For them, an election is a cumbersome process in which they must trick a majority of the electorate into voting against their own interests.  An election is an annoying anachronism they must suffer through to attain their rightful station of power.  It grows more and more  apparent that neither the president, his advisors, nor most of the members of congress – from either party – have much respect for the people or their interests.  Jonathan Gruber’s videos are a stark example of the contempt the elites have for the citizens of this country, but he is only one of many.  It wasn’t very long ago that Mitt Romney’s senior campaign manager, Eric Fehrnstrom, made the following famous remark when asked if Romney had appeared too conservative during the primary to win in the general election: “I think you hit the reset button for the fall campaign.  Everything changes.  It’s almost like an Etch A Sketch.  You can kind of shake it up, and we start all over again.”  This is not the comment of a person who wants to help guide you to a candidate that represents your interests.  This is the comment of a person who considers you a rube.

Many Americans have been largely indifferent to politics all of their lives.  When the country was prosperous and secure, the culture fairly stable, and the standard of living on a gradual rise this indifference was understandable.  But those days are gone.  We can no longer assume our elected legislators will do anything but fundraise and lie.  Meanwhile, the real power of government has shifted to the President and the vast bureaucracy at his disposal.  It was not the congress who used the IRS to suppress the Tea Party before the 2012 election – and after 2 years of hearings the congress hasn’t really done anything about it but grandstand for the cameras.  If elections are an annoyance to the elites, then congress itself, with its roots in the protective restrictions of the US Constitution, has become an even bigger annoyance.  Obama’s executive order granting functional amnesty to five million illegal aliens is not merely an expression of the president’s internationalist ideology – it is a test case to determine how the public and the pathetic Republican opposition will react to a complete repudiation of the rule of law.  If we the people do not react, swiftly and loudly, then we will be a Republic in name only.