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Fodder for conspiracy theories

While thrashing around about manners and respect at dejana's LJ, we started drifting into the issue of how much impact the President has on the life of the average citizen. My argument was "not much, and he shouldn't" while she felt otherwise.

I also made the point that the individual citizen has the most impact on local government, and that impact gets weaker the further up the government pyramid you go. Your Senator and Congressman may nod politely and make a few minutes' time for you if you come to Washington, but they'll pay a lot more attention if you have a few thousand angry neighbors with you, especially if those neighbors are pretty well off. Which is why people tend to join groups like the NRA, get involved in political parties (and their subgroups) and/or contribute money to corporate PACs or unions.* This is actually the way it's supposed to work; after all, we live in a republic, not a democracy, and a damn good thing too.

Unfortunately, the level of government we have the least control over has been growing pretty steadily since the 1930s, so people tend to feel more disaffected and less prone to get involved in local government. Since the media tend to cover federal government the best (that's where they all are, after all) that's an additional source of distraction and disaffection. And pretty soon everybody goes crying to their Congresscritter for every little thing, which is how we wind up with all this goddamn pork in the budget.

Also unfortunately, there's this tendency to act as if the President is some kind of God-Emperor who can fix anything or cure any problem or hold back the waves by his command. I see this in some of the Obama supporters, and it does worry me some.

I'm burned out from the day's work and maundering a bit here. Maybe I'll come back to this later.

*Actually, union contributions are involuntary and you have to fight like hell to make them stop using your dues on candidates you hate.


( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 22nd, 2009 04:13 am (UTC)
Hey hey, a political post of yours that I agree with 100%! :)
Jan. 22nd, 2009 01:34 pm (UTC)
I think that you and I and windelina - and I'll go out on a limb here and throw in mle292 - all agree on the ends we think America ought to be pursuing. Where we disagree is on the means/methods. The older I get, the more anti-Federalist I become. This may seem to contradict the icon, but only because Libertarian Falangism hasn't got a symbol of its own yet.
Jan. 22nd, 2009 02:26 pm (UTC)
I think that may be true in the very loosest sense. We all want to America to be the shining beacon on the hill, to actually live up to its ideals. However, they want it without guns and with a lot more welfare and other (IMHO) wasteful monetary social programs than you and I do.
Jan. 22nd, 2009 05:15 pm (UTC)
And sometimes I wonder about you. ;)
Jan. 22nd, 2009 06:13 pm (UTC)
You and my mother both.
Jan. 23rd, 2009 02:55 am (UTC)
Jan. 27th, 2009 07:39 am (UTC)
-_- My point was that the President does have powers that can directly affect the lives of common citizens. It's not the everyday course of events, by any means, nor did I argue that he has or should have a lot of influence over the individual. Those powers are out there. That's all.
Jan. 27th, 2009 09:08 pm (UTC)
Sorry I misunderstood. I do try to get these things right, especially where friends are involved. :(
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )



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