#754 – Dick Bernard: Dysfunctional Congress; Dysfunctional America or…Doing Just What We Want Done, Nothing?

This post is intended as an invitation to learn and to act.
Yesterday, Congress recessed for approximately six weeks to go “home” to wherever. Each of it’s 435 members represents approximately 700,000 people living somewhere in the United States.
We’re one of the few congressional districts which has, as permanent residents, two congresspeople: the former congresswoman, Michele Bachmann, lives here, and is the elected representative to another Minnesota Congressional District. There are no rules that she has to live in the district she represents. My present congresswoman is Betty McCollum.
Here‘s how to find all current Congresspeople in the United States. It is good to know who these folks are.
Here’s the United States Senate.
It is generally acknowledged that the current Congress is the least productive ever, and more crises are ahead. (Acknowledged that some would consider “productive” and “obstructive” to be synonyms – preventing action is positive, not negative. We all can have our own opinions. It would appear, though, that the “obstructive” camp does not have many fans…though that makes no difference to them.)
Approval ratings of performance of Congress are so low as to make the word “approval” a misapplication of the word. I’ve seen numbers as low as 8% “approving” of this Congress’ performance.
Still, it can be countered that individual congresspersons can go home reasonably comfortable that most of their constituents approve of their individual performance and will be reelected if they run again in 2014.
Quite a commentary: we loathe what we willingly select.
Not a very healthy scenario.

A good summary of the wreckage left behind as Congress heads back to their Districts – our turf – is here, Fat Old Men Chasing Ghosts. It’s about 3400 words, but sometime you can’t convey information in Text Bits, Twitter remarks or Headlines. This summary is worth a read.
Succinctly, we have brought this on ourselves, largely by our own disinterest and inaction.
And absence attention by individual citizens it will get worse before it gets better. And the anti-government forces – the ones who think they are “winning” – will be the biggest losers whether they “prevail” (a word used by a Tea Party friend, celebrating his supposed strength) or not.
“Politicians” understand who we are, the numbers, etc. They know us, our fears, prejudices, laziness….
The closest national politician to us is our Congressperson, and it is an excellent idea to get to know who that person is and what they stand for, and then to make a decision to work hard when the next time comes to elect or reelect them.
But politicians know, just from very basic data, that few of us know much about our Congressperson, and relative few of us bother to vote, much less vote intelligently, for their election, particularly in the “off” year, which 2014 will be.
Statistics? If you’re interested, here’s a good resource to bookmark and refer to from time to time. It shows voter turnout by state for recent biennial elections, and it is noteworthy by how serious a dropoff there is in turnout in non-Presidential years.
If you’re Minnesotan, here’s Minnesota Election statistics, and here is more information which you might find useful.

1 reply
  1. Treffle Daniels
    Treffle Daniels says:

    Safe to say we get the government we deserve by our inattention to our reps in washington. They seem to be interested in small views and not the whole picture.


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