"The best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter."-Winston Churchill
Today on Morning Edition, I learned that a large percent of the American people are opposed to ‘an activist government’. Later on, I discovered that another certain amount of people feel a certain way about several other issues. Sorry that I can’t be more specific, but I was busy throwing up in my cereal bowl.
I’m Sick of polls. I’m sick of hearing about them on the radio, and I’m sick of reading about them on websites and in newspapers and magazines. I don’t care what percentage of Americans believe in evolution theory versus intelligent design, I don’t care who wins on American Idol. The fact of the matter is that the same people who elected George W. Bush for two terms also elected Barack Obama. Clearly, the criteria that the masses are using to make important decisions about their lives and the future of our country is not sober assessment and deep consideration of the complexity of different issues.
When George W. Bush was shirking public opinion by continuing the war in Iraq, talk radio was hailing his dedication to ‘principle over polls’. When Barack Obama sticks to HCR in (apparent) opposition to popular opinion, he is ‘ignoring the will of the people’.
I’m glad that opinions about HCR have begun to turn around now that it has passed, but on another hand, I’m deeply disturbed by it. It’s very hard for me not to think of the general American public as a bunch of clones of Kenneth the page from 30 Rock.
And this saddens me. I’m an individualist, and a believer in democracy. Well, maybe not the ‘one person one vote’ kind of democracy; the fickleness, and poor ability of my fellow citizens to pay attention and dispassionately assess issues makes me a firm supporter of our delegate system. We change our minds all the time, but woe is the elected official that has a change of heart. I completely understand an elected official that wins the public’s heart and then squirts some hand sanitizer on her hand and says with a dismissive smile to all of us, ‘Thanks, y’all. I’ve got it from here.’
No wonder Presidents age so fast. The American public is like the pregnant wife that sends her husband out for freezer pizza at midnight, and decides that pizza makes her sick when he gets back home. She’d rather have pickles and chocolate milk.
But, alas, democracy is the best game in town. Even though she makes you go to the store late at night. Even though she hates 'activist' government. Even though she has deep, steadfast opinions about things that can be turned around by a clever catch phrase, a disarming smile, or--in the case of Sarah Palin--nipple zippers. It's better to have the zany Lucy and Ricky relationship we have with her than the Ike and Tina relationship other people have with their governments.
cross posted at Kos