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The Un-545 People

August 25, 2011

This article won’t make sense unless you have read the “The 545 People.”

It’s understandable why people love “The 545 People” article written by Charley Reese so much when we feel helpless to change our government.

I have never voted for an politician on the basis that I’d love him or her to show up at my next party. But, both admiration and self-contradiction has always been part of our history. Yet, today is a good day to contemplate the future of our country.

In “The 545 People” article, Reese wrote: “Politicians are the only people in the world who create problems and then campaign against them.”

Isn’t it also true that American voters also are the only people who reelect the same politicians into office who create the problems?

Soon… The Unabomber and Leprosy both will have higher ratings than Congress. To state the bleeding obvious, the only reason to vote for a politician is because you think they’re the best person for the job – and that job is to legislate and to look after the collective interest of our nation through responsible governing.

But are the politicians to blame for this – or is it actually our own fault? Do we get the public representatives that we deserve? Who elects these 545 people? Who is truly responsible?

Implicit in “The 545 People” argument is the clear, though veiled, assumption that the American form of government is an aristocracy. Obviously, it is not. It is, in the immortal words of Abraham Lincoln, a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.

Ironically enough, in an effort to find a source of responsibility, Mr. Reese, correctly stating politicians are self-righteous, may just ignore the only true source of responsibility in a constitutional republic: We the People.

So who is really to blame for our pressing problems?

Is it the millions of common citizens who haven’t educated themselves enough to elect virtuous, courageous, and wise leaders?

Is it the millions of American families who have failed to raise up those essential leaders in their own families and homes?

Is it the millions of Americans who hold their politicians to a higher standard than they hold themselves? They sure want their politicians to understand the Constitution, but do they understand it themselves?

Is it the millions of Americans who complain about high taxes, yet then turn around and accept government programs and benefits in the name of “Everyone else is doing it!”

Is it the millions of average Americans who claim that the Federal Reserve is evil without even understanding how it works and what should replace it?

Is it the millions of Americans who vehemently denounce inflation and deficits while racking up their own credit cards and consuming more than they produce on a daily basis themselves?

Is it the millions of Americans who were publicly appalled at Bill Clinton’s misdeeds in the Oval Office yet secretly are addicted to pornography?

Is it the millions of common citizens who rage against the criminality of illegal immigration while consciously and deliberately violating the rule of law themselves on a daily basis?

All nations get the government that they deserve. These 545 people are nothing but a reflection of the majority of American citizens. And the politicians have failed.

As John Adams wrote, “If worthless men are sometimes at the head of affairs, it is because worthless men are at the tail, and the middle.”

Who is to blame? Every one of us, the American citizens, who are hypocritical, complacent, and ill-informed. Complaining about 545 people is a great way to stir the pot and incite discontentment but a really poor way to actually get to the heart and root of our problems and do something about them.

We the People are responsible. Until we change, our 545 representatives will never change. Maybe the answer isn’t just to change them, maybe the answer is to change ourselves first through greater education, a higher dedication, humility and gratitude, and responsibility and accountability.

Perhaps it is the politicians that need to grow up and set aside their personal self interest. But it is also true that our inability and reluctance to change ourselves has led us to this point. After all, such a nod-and-a-wink style of politics between the voter and those that we elect has brought us to our knees.

Maybe its time to start looking at ourselves first. The sooner we do that the sooner we can dump “The 545 People.” We get the gov’t we deserve.

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