Americans responsible to hold federal government accountable

Americans should hold the government accountable for its inadequacies that led to unmet desires and national debt.

Shaefer Bagwell, Writer

On Monday, Nov. 21, members of the Congressional “super committee” tasked with finding ways to lower the deficit admitted defeat. The panel, made up of equal parts Democrat and Republican senators and congressmen, was unable to find a consensus on ways to close the gap in the federal budget. The result is a mandatory cut of 1.2 trillion dollars over the next decade, starting in 2013.

I think it’s time the American people said enough is enough. See, this country was founded on the ideas of John Locke, who fathered the social contract theory. That is reflected in the Declaration of Independence, where the founding fathers asserted a citizen’s right to dissolve a government that wasn’t meeting their needs. This government is not meeting ours.

Accountability needed in government

The founders wanted the legislative branch to be the people’s branch, the branch that reflected the manifest will of the American citizenry, and was held accountable.

Congress needs to be held accountable. If they were average employees, tasked with any number of activities in a business setting, they would have been fired long ago. They would have been subject to disciplinary reviews, cuts in pay and demotion, finally ending in terminations. We, the voters of the United States of America, need to act as the employers that we are.

Desires remain unmet

To the Democrats: You want social justice, efficient and centralized federal bureaucracy, balanced taxes, responsibly regulated industry and equal rights for all minority groups. Do you have these things?

To the Republicans: You want lower taxes, a smaller and more streamlined federal government, free market capitalism and preserved social and familial values. Do you have these things?

I can answer my own questions. No. Neither of you do. What you have instead is a federal government crippled by its own inadequacies, entrenched in failed policies, bickering across both sides of the aisle in a fashion reminiscent of a kindergarten playground. They pushed the debt ceiling debate, where the two sides stalemated over how much the government could borrow, to the very last second, barely skating across the finish line in time to avoid a crisis. Their behavior was so pathetic that Standard and Poor’s lowered the country’s credit rating anyways, citing partisan gridlock. Our “leaders” stand boldly behind polished pulpits, claiming that their party-line votes and petty procedural hurdles are done in the defense of truth, justice and the American way. If they looked outside the beltway, they would realize it’s not working.

Individuals can take action to improve government

The country has been in economic crisis for four years, the stock market is unstable, the housing market is debilitatingly weak and no one can find a job that pays what they need. Instead of taking action against it, instead of compromising and reaching consensus, politicians of both parties point fingers across the aisle, throw blame at their opponents, all the while failing to get anything done.

This is the reality we face. There is a simple way to fix it. See, Congress has an approval rating that hovers around 10 percent, yet the incumbency rate is astonishingly high. People don’t like the body as a whole, yet they continue to vote for their same old guy.

You want the solution? Here it is. Look at your congressman, your assemblyman, your senators. How often has he or she co-sponsored a bill with a member of the opposite party? How many times has he or she voted for something his or her party doesn’t support? If that number is low, kick them out. Find a challenger from your community for the primary. Donate or volunteer against them. Get them out of office. It has to be done.

Here’s the deal, folks. We like to vote for ideologues who stand brashly and loudly for the things that we believe in. They talk on “C-Span,” spewing absolutes. Guess what? In this country, political absolutes are few and far between. Most people in this country are moderates, people who care more about individual issues than about party politics. Until that viewpoint is reflected in the highest levels of government, we will remain paralyzed and weak. Vote moderate.

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