Many people say that I am way too cynical when it comes to politics. I find the subject fascinating and intriguing, if a bit saddening. No other arena is so unpredictable and crazy yet so powerful, life changing and influential. The more I try to understand where our political system lost touch, the more intelligent I realize our Founding Fathers were.
Perhaps it is the fault of the American voter. We get swept up in a movement that always promises to be more than it is. Reagan brought pride back to America showing leadership in both foreign and domestic affairs. But, he did so not carrying a bit about the budget deficit. Bill Clinton and the Republican congresses of the mid to late 90s surprisingly showed that bi-partisanship is possible. They produced a strong economy with a balanced budget. However, they practically ignored foreign affairs and Al-Qaida grew by leaps and bounds during this time period (not to mention there were several terrorist attacks where we never connected the dots showing that we were at war). Most recently, Obama promised to “change America and change the world.” Thus far, he has been symbolizing one of the attack ads used against John McCain: More of the Same.
At what point do we realize that government is not the answer to all of our problems? In history class, we’ll read about ancient civilizations that practiced (to us) odd and unusual rituals to their gods hoping for a positive outcome. Do we not do the same with our democracy? We send these people who promise the world and by and large, they either change nothing or make things worse. I know there are some good politicians trying to make a positive difference, but the truth is that very few of them know what it is like for the average American family. Also, to rise high enough to where they can run for Federal office, they’re either rich and most likely out of touch with the American people or they’ve sold their soul to special interests to fund their expensive campaigns.
Our Founding Fathers created a simple, if at times ambiguous document to guide our government. Like a holy text, some think it should all be taken literally while others think parts of it are open to modern interpretation. This may be the case in some parts, but others are clear cut. For example, the Bill of Rights are pretty clear. I’m not a legal scholar but when the Constitution enumerates the powers of the Federal government, that is pretty clear. When it says certain rights are reserved for the states, then I think they should be reserved for the states.
I’m not sure which is better: a government that acts as a necessary evil or an unnecessary good. This struggle engulfed the waking hours of many of our Founding Fathers and to this day, we still struggle with it.