We, The Unrepresented Majority …

The concept of representation in government has become skewed.  This has flitted across my consciousness frequently for months … nay, for several years, truth be told.  But in the last week, the thought has repeatedly smacked me hard upside the head, and a short piece in the Opinions section of The Washington Post this morning was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

When we vote for the candidate of our choice on election day, we assume that the winning candidate will represent us.  Now, it may be the case that a candidate is put into office almost exclusively by the votes of the wealthy, the white, the Christians, the republicans … but once in office, he represents us all.  His job is not simply to ensure that the laws are written to enhance and protect the specific groups that voted for him.  But that concept has been lost along the way … not by all politicians, but absolutely by almost every single republican in Congress or the White House.  Nowhere in the oath he takes does it say he will uphold the Constitution to the extent it supports only the minority.

The divide between democrats and republicans has become so great that perhaps neither can see what they are doing to this nation.  Certainly the republicans in Congress have all but forgotten that their allegiance is to this nation and its people … ALL of its people.

Outgoing republican Senator Bob Corker was asked yesterday why he does not support crafting and enacting legislation that would protect the Russian investigation under Robert Mueller from the idiosyncrasies of Donald Trump, who could essentially fire Mueller and close down the investigation at any time.   And he answered …

“The president is, as you know — you’ve seen his numbers among the Republican base — it’s very strong. It’s more than strong, it’s tribal in nature. People who tell me, who are out on trail, say, look, people don’t ask about issues anymore. They don’t care about issues. They want to know if you’re with Trump or not.”

Think about that one for a few minutes, folks.  The republicans in Congress will refuse to do what they know to be the right thing, for it may anger the 35% or so of the nation who still support Trump.  Mid-terms are coming up in a short eight months, you know, and we wouldn’t want to do anything to anger our base.  Mr. Corker just made it as plain as the nose on your face that the only people he and his cronies believe they need to represent are the minority of citizens who support Donald Trump.  I don’t support Trump, therefore Mr. Corker feels no obligation to give a royal whit about my best interests, or yours.

The first three Articles in the U.S. Constitution outline the responsibilities of the three branches of government.  Article I is the legislative branch – Congress.  Do you know why it came before the executive branch – the president?  Because the framers believed Congress was the more important.  They were the ones who would defend this nation … and We The People.  Congress would make laws, it was believed, in the best interest of all the people.  Note that today, the majority of the people in the United States are convinced that the investigation by Robert Mueller and his team is of particular importance, given the growing evidence before our eyes that the Trump family and campaign had extraordinary ties to Russia.  And the majority is more convinced than ever that Donald Trump has much to hide, given his obsessively erratic behaviour of the past week – behaviour that reeks of guilt.  But the majority of the country does not matter … not at all … to the republican lawmakers who are more intent on stroking and appeasing the minority, because they do not wish to risk losing voters.  Is this all that matters?  Apparently so.

And equally infuriating is the fact that some 35% of the nation “don’t care about issues”.  They only care whether a legislator supports Trump, not whether he supports them or their families.  A few short hours ago, I told Hugh that I really needed to stop referring to Trump supporters in negative language, for perhaps I had been unfair in judging them based on their vote.  Too bad I cannot stick to that, but at this point, I will go on record as saying that anybody … man, woman, Christian, atheist, straight, gay, white, black … anybody who cares more about supporting Trump than the many crucial issues we face today, such as health care, immigration, education, infrastructure, foreign relations, climate change, and much more, is ignorant.  If Trump dies tomorrow, our lives will go on (and be better for it).  If our air becomes unbreathable or our water undrinkable tomorrow, we will all die.  If millions of people cannot afford healthcare, they will die.  But 35% of this nation don’t care about the issues???  Wake up and smell the coffee, people!  Wake up and see how you have been manipulated and used for the personal gain of one ‘man’ and his family!

The world will never be perfect, nor will this nation.  But once we stop striving to make it better, as our representatives and their blind followers have done, then we are doomed.  We elect representatives based on how well we feel they will represent us and the things we most care about.  Some in this country have lost sight of that concept, and in so doing have handed over the lives of every single person in this country to a corrupt, selfish individual.  In the past few weeks, I have asked myself why I write this blog.  I needn’t ask any more.  This is why I write this blog, for I cannot sit idly by and allow the ignorant to rule our world without at least trying to make a difference.

50 thoughts on “We, The Unrepresented Majority …

  1. The lessons of WWII have been forgotten and its crimes turned into some sort of evil worship. In each nation the path to this state are varied & complex. As an outsider here is my take on the US journey.
    Back in the 1960s you commenced, in social terms, to take a liberal path, it was rocky with many diversions. There was always a minority who bitterly resented the corrosion of the WASP’s status; this led in part to the Culture Wars and the battle lines were drawn. As the internet grew it became possible for any ignorant malcontent of any stripe to become a media star by attracting the angry and the fearful. Couple to this to loss of prosperity in many areas and you have the usual toxic mix and the search for someone to blame.
    The appeal of Trump The Odious was that he outraged many of those on the liberal side of the Culture Wars and in consequence began a symbol of the opposition’s anger. In short ‘If he’s annoying those freaks an’ liberals and womens’ groups etc’ that’s fine by me’. All it then needed was for those with genuine perceived grievances against a Democrat government to think ‘Hell. He’ll do. He can be controlled by the professionals’ and away it all went.
    THEN YOU ADD THE DONOTHINGS WHO THINK IT’S SMART NOT TO VOTE and you have the result possible in a close result election.
    There you go.

    Liked by 3 people

    • What you say makes a lot of sense. I was having a similar conversation with another friend regarding racism and whether the gains during the Civil Rights movement were real or merely an illusion. I said that I thought the lessons of history seem to fade with each successive generation and thus we are once again seeing an increase in racism. And you make a good point about the contribution of the internet, too, which makes it all too easy to spread rhetoric to millions of people with the click of a button. Sometimes you guys across the pond can see our situation more clearly than we, for our view is blocked by the bloomin’ trees in the forest. But now for the tough question? Can we change things without completely uprooting the nation and it’s structure?

      Liked by 2 people

      • That’s a tough question Jill.
        It is in the hands of The People. Trump and his crew and those tawdry bunch in the media who babble for him are releasing forces they cannot comprehend.
        Each nation encounters many crossroads on its journey, particularly those as vibrant and diverse as the USA.
        When I say in the hands of The People, this does not always translate in a majority thinking collectively, many disparate groups can cause many ripples and variables.
        The possibilities are myriad.
        In the worse case scenarios, History will judge Trump as culpable as it did with James Buchanan is the years prior to the Civil War. Only Buchanan meant well.

        Liked by 2 people

        • You are so right that disparate groups can cause ripples … tsunamis, in fact! My fear is that the white supremacists in this nation are causing such ripples and unfortunately, they seem to be picking up momentum. I would really prefer for this nation NOT to become the next WWII Germany! But, when you have a leader who refers to them as “good people”, it emboldens them. Sigh. I don’t envy the ostriches, for some day they will have to pull their bloody heads out of the sand, and when they do, they may well look around and not much like what they see, yes?

          Liked by 2 people

          • The events of Germany in the 1920s & 30s are grim warnings, but there are many differences. The important one being that the opposition is not violently fighting amongst itself (Social Democrats vs Communists). Also you were dealing with a nation that lost a war but did not want to believe it. And, it has to be said was not multiracial.

            Liked by 2 people

            • All true, of course. But … more and more I feel an ominous undertone from the far right. True, they are in the minority, but they are surely a very vocal minority and one that doesn’t adhere to the ‘social norms’ … in other words, they don’t have any problem with going out and shooting people who don’t agree with them. And then there is Trump who is replacing the most rational thinkers in his administration with those whose only qualification is blind loyalty. I dunno … perhaps I am seeing shadows where there are none, but … I don’t like the way the picture is beginning to look. AND … I don’t think it’s only here, though obviously “here” is what I am most familiar with. The following of the far right in Europe is disturbing, also … LePen, Wilders, Akesson, Hofer. Too much unrest worldwide for comfort. We cannot afford another World War, for the stakes are much higher now … Sheesh … where did my morbidity come from … must be time for a bowl of rice! 🍚

              Liked by 3 people

              • Hope you enjoyed your rice Jill.
                These worms of hate and corrosion never went away even after WWII.
                Take heart from the youth marches against guns Jill.
                There is hope. And Trump is the an aberration. He is a small man whose footprint on history will be barely discernible, save as a footnote on the quirkiness of democracy.

                Liked by 1 person

    • Very well said. I do think it was Trump’s image as the White Knight who would destroy the tight hold the liberals and intellectuals have on power in America — as perceived by the disenfranchised and resentful — that explains much.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Representation is basically a flawed concept. It was adopted because direct elections were not an option., But no one person can faithfully represent more than one other — and probably not that one. But our “representatives” are so in name only. What they, in fact, represent is those who pull the strings of power, who will see to it that they are reelected. Our job, then, is to see that those who are least liable to bend to those who pull the strings, those who might occasionally do the right thing, are elected and that those who clearly succumb to the temptations of power are sent on their way. But this requires that we become well informed and that we vote the sluggards out of power. That requires a determination to make our Republic work as best it can — recognizing that it cannot possibly represent the will of all.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Well … I agree with you in one sense, the reality of what is happening now is, indeed, that our elected officials represent those who control the purse-strings and will see to it that they are re-elected so long as they toe the line. But I would disagree that any one person can represent no more than one other. Now, obviously, if everyone has completely different ideas, then it would be chaos. But, there are only so many colours in a box of pick-up-sticks, and similarly there are typically two or even three sides to any issue that are widely supported. So, if 600,000 people are for banning assault weapons, and 400,000 are against, the logical thing would be for the representative of that district to vote for banning the weapons, regardless of party affiliation, income level, skin colour or whatever. Granted, it doesn’t work that way, for we have been voting with something other than our brains, and have not held our elected officials accountable. Otherwise, how could Mitch McConnell have stayed in office for 33 years? And your last sentence tells precisely why we will always be coming up short … “That requires a determination to make our Republic work as best it can — recognizing that it cannot possibly represent the will of all.” Nobody is willing to say, “okay, maybe it isn’t quite what I wanted, but it’s what’s best for the country, so I’ll accept it”. Greed, pure and simple. I want it my way … period!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes. It may be the best we can do. But mathematically one person cannot faithfully represent even one other person because no two people think exactly the same way. A moot point, perhaps, but it helps Rousseau make the case that we are free only when we vote for our representatives. After that we are slaves. We had better hope we elect the very best people to “represent” us. This is something we have not done thus far, it would seem!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Okay .. now I see the point you are making better, for it is true that no two people thing exactly alike. But in broad strokes, it should not be impossible for us to elect a person who represents most of our ideals. You are right, we have not been doing a very good job with electing the ‘best’ people. One problem I see, and I’ve thought about this a lot lately, is that those very best people aren’t on the menu. More often than not it seems we are left to choose between the ‘lesser of two evils’. Would a multi-party system offer better choices? Who knows? I’ve been looking ahead to 2020 … I seriously don’t think Trump will even be on the ballot, but I don’t see any bright, shining stars of the horizon of either party. Mediocrity, at best. Sigh.

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          • But in broad strokes, it should not be impossible for us to elect a person who represents most of our ideals.

            Those “broad strokes” would have to be very broad.

            I don’t expect an elected politician to represent my ideals. Rather, I expect him to represent my interests. But, to represent my interests, he is going to make compromises that won’t all fit my ideals.

            In perspective, Obama represented my interests very will, but my ideals not so much.

            Bush (dubya) represented my interests very poorly.

            Trump is extremely antagonistic to my interests.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Yes, it certainly is at least part of the problem! But … I can think of no way for us to directly choose our candidates without total chaos being the result. And … as you and I have discussed before about informed voters … do you realize just how many people vote for a candidate based on appearance and/or charisma rather than beliefs and ideologies? There is surely a better way than the party conventions, but I don’t know what it is. The one thing I do think, though, is that it should be easier for third-party candidates to actually run. I mean, they can throw their hat in the ring, and they can spend money on their campaigns, hold rallies, etc., but in order to be taken seriously, they need to a) partake in the debates, and b) be on the ballot. In most cases, those venues are closed to them until they are polling at a certain level, which few manage, and never in every state. I understand the reasons for those rules, but I think the time has come to re-think them.

              Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s raw tribalism alright. I’m fascinated, perhaps morbidly so, about the sociology which has brought us to this dangerous point in time. America has always had extremists, particularly the right-wing kind, but their ideology seldom gained prominence in the larger population. The last time was during the Civil War over slavery. Now, there is no single issue we can point to. From a historical perspective, what’s happening today resembles post World War One Europe and the rise of fascism. What caused that subsequent catastrophe was great negligence by those in power. I believe that will also be the cause of the next catastrophe.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I share your morbid fascination and have spent the better part of the last three years trying to understand. I still don’t understand, but there are two things that I think have contributed to our current situation.

      One, I think social media has contributed greatly to the ‘dumbing down’ of the average person. For some, it is so much easier to read a stupid Facebook meme and allow it to help you formulate an opinion, rather than have to spend all that time reading tedious informational articles, going in search of actual facts, etc. Facebook has obviously made our society more vulnerable to manipulation than ever before.

      Two, I think the first African-American president brought racists back out of the closet they had lived in since the 1960s and caused an enormous push back. I think Obama did a hell of a good job, especially under the difficult circumstances he had. And I was proud, on January 20, 2009, to see our first African-American president take the oath of office. And I was proud to think that we, as a nation, had finally put aside our bigotry and elected the best man for the office without caring about his skin colour. Only thing is, I was wrong. Far too many DID care about his skin colour, and they were ripe for the picking when Trump started the ‘birther’ rumour, and when Breitbart and Fox began critiquing every move Obama made and claiming there were monsters hiding behind every tree.

      And so, just as a pendulum must swing as far to the right as it swung to the left … here we are. Sigh. There is no longer any middle … no moderate … only left or right. Makes it really hard to converse across such a wide canyon, don’t you think?

      Liked by 2 people

      • Yes, the advent of social media has profoundly changed the dynamics of interpersonal communication as well as the dissemination of information – in quite negative ways, I would say. And yes, Obama was indeed a lightning rod for hate. However, these two things by themselves weren’t the cause of our societal decay. Let me explain as concisely as I can because this is an extremely complex problem many decades in the making.

        The analogy to Interbellum Europe warrants examination. WWI decimated the continent, and Germany in particular was economically devastated. The established order collapsed in a heap, its institutions shattered. Civilized activities, such has higher education, fell by the wayside as simple survival became paramount. Populist angst rose to a fever pitch, rejected the new centrist and democratic government (i.e. the Weimar Republic), and looked to bold and radical solutions offered by a charismatic leader – that is, the intense nationalism and antisemitism of Hitler.

        America today is in a similar state. But, instead of a world war which immediately triggered populist angst, our triggering shock has transpired slowly since the early 1980s when Reagan Republicans and corporate Democrats implemented neoliberalism. These policies resulted in a prolonged and tremendous transfer of wealth and power from the middle class to the privileged elite. By the turn of the century, the public began to realize what was happening. Globalization had caused severe wage stagnation, privatization had ruined once-great institutions like public education, and corporatism had robbed ordinary people of their political power. Populist angst was building, and the 2007-8 financial crisis and subsequent Great Recession solidified it. Far-right conservatives swept to victory in 2010, and Trump won in 2016 because of disenfranchised blue collar workers in the Rust Belt states whose anger made them susceptible to his brashness and xenophobia.

        There’s much more to this story, but that’s the best I can do for right now.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. “People who tell me, who are out on trail, say, look, people don’t ask about issues anymore. They don’t care about issues. They want to know if you’re with Trump or not.” I just felt the wind leave my sails in a big way. What on earth do people think when they read that? Is that supposed to keep them from the polls???

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Jill, if you haven’t seen last night’s Town Hall with Bernie Sanders about Inequality in America, it is 90 minutes well spent. (https://youtu.be/Mw46J5F4T_c) Yes, the Republicans in Congress are very concerned about kowtowing to their base supporters, but they actually march to the tune played by the wealthy 1%. They set the agenda, and work actively with federal and state legislators to actually write bills that are introduced and often passed. Unfortunately, this is not just an American phenomenon. Democracies everywhere are under siege as the wealthy are impoverishing the middle class through union busting and other tactics. Thanks for this illuminating post. Hugs, John.

    Liked by 4 people

    • No, I had not seen the town hall, though I had heard of it. I will definitely watch it tomorrow … thank you for the link! It’s too late to start it at 3:15 a.m., but will put it at the top of tomorrow’s list. Agreed that the wealthy 1% … which is actually more like a quarter of a percent … is calling the shots. Every single one of Trump’s cabinet picks comes from this group, and we currently have the richest Congress in history. But here’s what I don’t get … if you’ve already got millions, more than you could possibly need in one lifetime, why do you want more? Why not use what you have to do good things? What the Sam Heck is John Doe going to do with an additional $2 billion??? I’m either stupid or naive … or both … but I JUST DON’T GET IT!!!! puff puff puff … stepping gently off of soapbox now …

      Liked by 2 people

  6. I think the ones supporting tRump do not mind his lying, his goofing off instead of working, his making money off the country, his saying anything he wants with no consequence, the sleaziness, the disregard of basic human decency and kindness, all of it because they want to be him. They want to get to do what he does as they like it. I kept hearing they liked that he said what he wanted, and I realize they want to spout off and say hateful things without danger of losing their jobs, friends, spouse, family. They want to be cheered the way tRump is at his rallies when they say stupid bigoted stuff. So they see themselves in the reflection of tRump and they glory in it. Really horrible but it is the way I see them from their actions. Hugs

    Liked by 2 people

    • You may be right, or another possibility is that they don’t believe anything that is said about him. He has them so convinced that the mainstream media is “fake news” and they shouldn’t listen to anything they hear, then he convinces them that he is working on their behalf, creating jobs, cutting their taxes, and they believe it because to do otherwise would be to admit that they made a mistake and that their “dreams” are not likely to ever come true.

      Your theory has merit, though … I just don’t know. I have spent the better part of three years trying to understand his appeal, but most recently I have been pulling my hair out trying to understand why they aren’t waking up to reality. Perhaps you are right … they envy him. Let’s have a tea party down here in the rabbit hole. 😦 Hugs, my friend!

      Liked by 1 person

    • I think that most of us are feeling like a persona non grata in our own country at the moment. I am still hopeful that there will be a turnaround soon. I don’t recognize this as my country either, Tony. And I take no pride in this nation at the moment, but if we all work to effect changes in our leadership, perhaps we can put this nation back together. Hang in, my friend!

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