Congressional representatives are all back home with their constituents trying to figure out what they can tell you to get your vote. So, what is it you want to hear in order to give them your vote? Or, given anti-incumbent sentiment swelling, is it too late for that?
For many, but far too few, it is what politicians did, said, and voted on since the last election that will determine whether they vote for or against their incumbent senators and representatives. For others, short cuts for not having paid attention will have to do. For example, many voters will ask themselves, am I better off today than I was two years ago? For fewer voters, the question is, will my kids be better off in the future given my incumbent's actions, or lack thereof, over the last few years? But for many, the shortest short cut is to listen to the ads politicians run to discredit opponents and hail themselves as the newest incarnation of Abraham Lincoln or Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
The easiest and laziest voting decision for many millions of Americans however, is to not vote. These Americans will rationalize that candidates and politicians are all thieves and liars so, what's the point? This, however, is not a shortcut to figuring out how to vote. It is an excuse! In effect, it abdicates the responsibility attached to every person who lives in a democracy — parliamentary, direct, republic, or otherwise. Moreover, it seriously undermines democracy and the health of the nation.
There is no more important vote than that cast by the disgruntled. It is the disgruntled vote that has the greatest potential to unseat corruption in government, to deny reelection to the incompetent and inept, and to replace those politicians who, for all their good intentions, remain ineffective in the eye of the disgruntled citizen.
If ever there was a time to unseat incumbents, it is now. A huge majority of our politicians in Congress share a corrupt but common priority system. First priority — don't alienate the party's contributors or leadership. Without party backing of one's primary election, one has less chance of reelection, a lesson Senator Lieberman is still smarting over.
Second priority — don't alienate the wealthy donors representing their own wallets, like lobbyists, and corporations, and unions, whose campaign donations and backing are essential to purchasing the advertising to tell voters what they want to hear just before an election. Hundreds of millions of dollars are at stake here for incumbents.
Third priority — do not forget the pork. Never mind the fact that bringing home federal dollars for a bridge to nowhere, or a $200,000 gazebo for the state's capital city has a price tag 49 times greater than what it actually costs to build. It's okay. Because voters haven't yet figured out that in order to bring home 40 million dollars of pork federal dollars, the other 49 states who could veto your pork project in Committee will insist on their own 40 million dollar pork projects. And politicians do their best to obfuscate the fact that their 40 million in pork dollars actually costs tax payers almost 2 billion dollars in extra taxes or deficits. These are taxes and deficits our children will have to pay in increasing amounts.