There’s a new kind of flip-flop in Washington. The power flip flop. One day the Republicans are flying high with their man on Pennsylvania Ave and good footing in both houses. The next, Democrats are on top with a majority in the houses and their man in the Oval office. Then an election spins out of control and into the headlines in Massachusetts and suddenly the top dogs are scrambling to keep their footing again. Up and down and in and out, Republicans and Democrats all vying and campaigning to win their seats and stay in power.
Which, for me, begs the question, are the politicians in Washington too busy being representatives of their parties to be representatives of the people?
Consider. In Massachusetts there was a mad scramble of last minute campaigning by the Democratic party to try to save Ted Kennedy’s seat from the hands of an upstart Republican. Bill Clinton and Barack Obama both put in appearances to this end, though in vain. Why? To get a Democrat back into the house. The desires of the people of Massachusetts seemed irrelevant (note: this is the second time in this paragraph that I have spelled that state correctly on the first try without the assistance of spell check), for when the desires of the people seemed to challenge the power of the party, the party flexed its muscles against them.
Last I checked the purposes and desires of our founding fathers, the goal of representative government was to represent the people of the nation, not some power hungry political party. The shift has been subtle, but its effects can no longer be ignored. No wonder the people of this country, and particularly young people, are disillusioned, cynical and frustrated about the government. They feel like they have no voice in the goings on of our country, and it is beginning to seem that this perception is not far off.
What a radical day it would be if a Democrat or Republican began to run for office in a particular state or district and then dropped out on the grounds of “I cannot accurately represent the needs and desires of this constituency; my opponent will do a better job of that for these particular people than I” instead of scrambling, biting and clawing to win a seat for their party, regardless of the good of the people.
Obama ran under the banner of “change” and said he would be a new day for the American government, would encourage bipartisanship, would consider all interests, and even a few weeks ago derided the “permanent campaigning” of Washington politics. A funny thing from the mouth of a man who scant days before had himself been campaigning for Coakley. He has not brought change to Wasington. He is a democrat, representing the democratic party, and trying to work with republicans representing the republican party.
All America wants to know is when someone will show up in Washington who wants to represent people instead of a party.