If one were to put together a crash course for understanding modern American politics, it might be helpful to start with one simple, irrefutable, fact: the United States Congress is bad. Really, truly horrible. Whether it be failing to deal with the crisis on our borders, suing the President instead of engaging him or inadequately addressing our budget problems, Congress has a well-deserved reputation of playing politics instead of tackling the problems of the nation. Congress' public approval has been dismal for some time now, but the caveat has always been that most Americans approve of their own representative. They believe there is a problem in Washington, but their Congressperson isn't a part of it. Not anymore. According to a recent Washington Post/ABC News poll, for the first time in the history of the survey, the majority of Americans disapprove of their own Representative. And the scary thing is that this finding doesn't matter one bit.
So that brings us back to the poll. The poll means nothing because, in American democracy, public opinion means little. A minority of Americans control the political process, driving our representatives further to their ideological extremes. Americans can complain all they want about Congress and their representatives but unless they show up to vote, no one in Washington cares. The fact that most Americans disapprove of their own Congressperson shows how out of whack our political system is, and there's only one group on which to place blame: the American people. Millions of Americans whine about the brokenness in Washington, but do nothing to rectify it. And millions more fail to engage in the process at all. Only if we see a renewed sense of civic engagement among American populace will the situation in Congress see a change.
Maximillian Foley-Keene. Hello! My name is Max and I'm an Editor in Chief for SCO this year. I like writing about what I think, especially current events, American foreign and economic policy. I also like music (jazz and 2000s post-punk are my favorites), art (Wassily Kandinsky is … More »
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