If you listen to some of the Republican leaders gloating after the recent mid-term election, you get the feeling that they feel they have a mandate to return to previous Republican policies. But this was not the case. There are the Republican faithful and the Democratic faithful. Then there is a growing group of independent swing voters who stand for something different. That group went predominately for the Democrats in 2008, and for the Republicans in 2010. But that group is neither for Obama’s version of “change” or the Republicans idea of “giving the change back.”
These independent voters are people who have suffered at the hands of both parties. They are common people. They don’t benefit when the special interests that control the Democratic Party determine legislation and they don’t benefit when those who control the Republican Party determine legislation. They are not public employees, they are not welfare recipients, they are not school teachers, they are not employed by Wall Street financial firms, major banks, oil companies or pharmaceutical companies. They are not pro-life or anti-abortion radicals. They are common people, who have been taxed a bit more each year to enable legislators on both sides of the aisle to deliver to these special interests in return for campaign contributions and lobbying efforts. A small income tax on these common citizens 60 years ago has become an overwhelming burden as their pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness has been harnessed as an engine of production for special interest redistribution–special interests as diversified as government bureaucracies, Federal Reserve banks, corporate bailouts, and social welfare.
The principles enshrined in U.S. Constitution designed to protect citizens from the government–and from themselves–have been amended, interpreted, ignored, and side-stepped so as to turn the average citizen into a new form of slave–a slave to special interests and to debt. The Tea Party and the swing voters are reacting against this transformation of a government that once served its citizens into a Leviathan that either feeds on them itself or redistributes funds by coercion to non-government interests.
Thus, when I heard John Boehner, the new majority leader talk of undoing both Democratic reforms that placed a burden on people and reinstating Republican legislation that places a burden on the people, I was disheartened. The Republicans will not have the ongoing support of swing voters until they further separate from the policies that bring wealth to Republican special interests at the expense of the taxpayer. If the Republicans do not get this message, the next election will swing back to the democrats; for gridlock is a better check against either party’s parasitic elements than leaving one group in power.
The election was a growing reaction against a system in which special interests, not the citizens’ interests are supported. It was not a mandate for entrenched Republican interests. This swing vote reflected anger against what they saw as destruction of the economy by Democratic Party legislation, and when possible, they elected non-incumbent Republicans who were more willing to listen to common citizens than corporate lobbyists. Unfortunately, John Boehner is known for his ability to serve the Republican special interests, and this should be a source of concern for those who expect the change the country needs.
Both parties reflect positive social concerns in their rhetoric. The Republicans support freedom and economic productivity. The Democrats stand for compassion and social justice. Most people want our country to support all these values, but in their appropriate relationship. We are witnessing a government not unlike parents that fight and won’t work together, each demanding something from the other, overtaken by selfish desires. The children are the ones who suffer from such a dysfunctional family.
I have outlined how our dysfunctional government developed over the last 150 years and how we can reverse the destructive tendencies to undermine sound principles of government in my book Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness Version, 4.0. I do not have time to repeat its 300+ pages in this blog. Please read the book.