I recently read the book “ The confessions of Congressman X“ about an anonymous lawmaker, who allegedly spilled all to magazin writer Robert Atkinson and tells about his job and colleagues. Greedy, power-obsessed and influenced by no one- except of course by cash-carrying lobbyists and super PACs.
“ It’s far easier than you think to manipulate a nation of naiv, self-absorbed sheep, who crave instant gratification. Things are so partisan today, most folks vote the straight party line. Even though they don’t know shit about who they are voting for. They just don’t want the other guys to win.“
And the most important aim of a Congressman is ? Of course to get reelected “Getting reelected requires the old give and take. First you have to give away taxpayer monies to provide legislative favor, tax breaks and subsidies to constituents and self-interest groups. You then take some money in form of donations from those to whom you’ve provided such favors, tax breaks and subsidies. Ain’t democracy beautiful?“
Congressman X is a disillusioned politician who has become totally cynical, but I think he is right, when he says:
“There’s a rising resentment and loss of faith between the American people and their government. They don’t believe we really understand their problems.“
I am not sure if he is right, when he goes on:
“ America is on a irreversible decline and no one in Washington seems to care.“
Much speaks for this observation. And I see similar developments in European democracies. Everywhere the functioning of democracy is getting worth. But is this irreversible?
Thinking about this I recognize two items. The first has to do with money. As long a one person is able to donate a politician for example 20$ and the other 20 mio $ there’s a problem, and this problem is even bigger, if there’s no transperency, who supports whom with money and which links do exist between financial support and economical interests.
The second concerns has to do with ourselves, the voters. The decline of democracy will indeed be irreversible, if most of the voters are interested ONLY in “cutesy cat videos, celebrity gossip, top 10 lists, reality TV shows, tabloid stripes and the next fucking Twitter message“, as Congressman X thinks. But I hope there are enough voters interested in substancial details of politics. Otherwise a dangerous development could go on. And what’s about the end?
If you sleep in a democracy, you might wake up in a dictatorship.