Well: what did you expect? Whether Democratic of Republican, Americans have a very short attention span. Yesterday’s primaries were further indication, as were the elections of 2008, that they want change and they WANT IT NOW!
More conservative Democrats were thrown out (Arlen Specter) or now required to face a primary run-off (Blanche Lincoln) in favor of the progressive candidates. In Kentucky, Tea Party fave Rand Paul won the GOP Senate primary. Nonetheless, come November, watch as the Tea Party chews him up and spits him out. After all, they are not for anyone really and just serve to criticize and condemn everything. How productive.
Voting for change is one thing and actualizing that change is completely another task. Even if we had every single public office filled with the candidates of our choice, the structure, mechanisms and constitutional nature of our government would not allow that change to happen quickly. So while it is all well and good that new people get elected, they, too, are up against that wall once they are sworn into office. The change needs to come from the very foundation that our country is built upon. Until the fundamental processes of government are altered, no politician can affect real change. Do we continue to work within a flawed system and place our faith in new politicians, or do we first need to change the system? Will fresh new faces in public office be enough, or do we first need to undergo substantial reconstructive surgery to our current form of government?
Our country was founded on principles of democracy, providing a supposed voice for the people. With our enormous size today, it rather seems that we use those founding principles to avoid change all together. Something’s way out of kilter. But any way you look at it, change can never happen fast enough, and that is precisely what the American people are responding to in making their votes count: anything but what we have now. That strategy, although repeated quite often in our history, will not be effective either in forcing change. As if our current politicians aren’t base enough, we have to deal with a system that is out of whack with reality.
Our problems are so diverse and complicated, that it is almost ludicrous to expect our lawmakers to have the smarts to fix them. First of all, most politicians are not rocket scientists, not to mention paragons of critical and foresightful thinking. To imagine these usual, run-of-the mill, average elected officials to be “experts” on such policies as oil technology, health care planning, economics and financial strategies is absurd. Why do you think they call for commissions and such as the first step in responding to some disaster?
What we need is a permanent pool of government employees, appointed and not elected, experts in their various fields of endeavor, to be in place on a continuous basis. And we need to pay them well. I think Britain has that kind of permanent, civil service in place. How we roll in the U.S. when an emergency occurs, is that a “commission” is set up. Weeks and months may pass before any results are suggested, and an even longer period passes before action may be taken.
So who are these people we elect to office? Why, of course, they are the glitterati, the money raisers, the public relations specialists. There are no connections with the abilities and skills of our elected and and their talents for governing. Could that be the underlying problem?
So of course incumbents heads will roll. I do think Americans are on to this now. Unfortunately, they also do not have the patience required to change the system, a task that must be tackled before we can expect results from our public leaders.
It would surely be a miracle if change was the primary objective in reality as well as in fantasy.