A lot has been said lately about Ebola. Fear has spread like wildfire... rumors, gossip... and while the pandemic poses a threat to our country, a far greater danger exists. That threat is apathy. Apathy destroys a republic faster than any plague or foreign army. It is an insidious cancer that is spread, not by one carrier, but by many hosts. The mass media who, under the guise of informing you, secretly lure you into a state of mindless consumerism. Another host of apathy is the illusion that third parties can never win. Perhaps, people forgot how close Theodore Roosevelt came to winning the presidency with the Bull Moose Party. In Washington, there is no red and there is no blue. There is only green. It is cliché, but quite true.
According to the US Census Bureau, the median US household income in 2013 was $51,939, down more than 8 percent from what it was fifteen years ago. Conversely, the median of all Congress members' average net worth was, as of 2012 (according to US News & World Report) upwards of $1,000,000. In fact, for the first time in history, as stated by the Center for Responsive Politics, a Washington-based organization that tracks political spending, the millionaires in Congress are the majority, compared to 1 percent of the rest of Americans capable of making this claim. The average Congressperson now earns more than 14 times that of the average American. Recently there has been buzz about a possible 3rd Romney bid for the Presidency. I have nothing against Mr. Romney -- he seems to be a nice gentleman and I'm looking at this with all politics aside. But I just have trouble comprehending how anyone could come to the conclusion that a man who has a $55,000 elevator in his garage could relate to the average American and represent his/her interests. One would think that any person with an IQ slightly north of 70 could deduce that someone who earns 14 times more than him/her is not going to understand or care about his/her interests, much less fight for them.
Yet, Americans will continue to vote for Republican and Democrat millionaires who cloud their minds with "issues." While there are important issues tossed around in campaigns, it is high time that we put those aside and face the most important issue of them all: income inequality. Americans have zero power. As recently as April 2014, The Washington Post, citing an analysis of 1,779 policy outcomes over a period of more than 20 years reported: "The collective preferences of ordinary citizens had only a negligible estimated effect on policy outcomes, while the collective preferences of "economic elites" (roughly proxied by citizens at the 90th percentile of the income distribution) were 15 times as important." It's time to end the apathy. On November 4th, vote for an independent. Vote for someone who has some semblance of understanding of the everyday struggles you face. Vote for someone who doesn't fly back and forth from Washington to your home district on his or her own private jet. There are great independent candidates running for Congress all over the country that you can vote for this year. For example, the voters of District 1 in Maine can vote for independent candidate Richard Murphy, a veteran of modest means, instead of for Democrat billionaire Chellie Pingree. Do a little research on independent candidates in your district. In the internet age, it takes only minutes. You do have a choice.