Who's kidding who here? The politicians know what they need to do about casting votes and how each vote might affect their chances for reelection in each phase of every election cycle, and we know they know it... and many of us understand their bullshit. Currently, early in Obama's second term, congressmen and women probably believe their tarnished reputations can recover from a standoff that causes grief for so many; and by the time they need to paint their images pretty for us again, they'll have other fodder for good PR campaigns, much of it based on spin and lies.
They may vote their consciences, but if they receive enough of a donation from some highly paid lobbyist, they'll vote that way and then rename their conscience with a little trademark at the bottom of their morals banner... like selling advertisement space on their Morals Card. For example, George H. W. Bush used to be pro-abortion before he became a candidate for the Republican ticket's presidential run, after which he adopted the only opinion acceptable to the entirety of that party. Was he suddenly overcome by a newfound vision for a better world that included a seminal switch to an anti-abortion stance? Talk about inventive timing! Could it be that one of our former presidents assumed an "any way the wind blows best" stance? Congress is rich in honorable men and women!
I think most of us believe politicians lie to us... and most of us are outraged that, due to their own exclusive laws passed by them/for them, government shutdowns force many temporary lay offs, yet don't affect them. Congress still gets paid and even has travel stipend waivers because their important travel must not be impeded. The excellent health benefits provided politicians also remain intact, unaffected, and completely separate from changes made concerning health insurance policy for the majority of us.
I suggest we consider uniting as a people to relieve these politicians of some of their convenient shadows in which to hide, crouch, cower and scheme. Let's all show 'em that we know they don't vote the way We The People are insisting they vote, and that makes us angry at them. Let's tell 'em by taking up arms en masse to remove their money incentives. Not arms as in guns, but as in a united powerful voice far more impactful than military strength.
Am I mistaken, or are they obligated to pass laws we the people require the to pass? How about passing legislation that says they can't spend any of their own money, and can only spend exactly what they are all given equally? Let's remove lobbyists' sponsorship. Let's lower the age for running for office to 12 or even 10. Double digits is all it takes.
The moral compass is often purer in young kids and these distinguished professionals all behave like little children anyways, so what if we evened the playing field by letting them compete with smart young folk? Imagine a policy debate between Ted Cruz and a sharp 11-year old: Cruz would likely be destroyed on the playground by an idealistic youngster. Let TV broadcast that!
Besides that, when it comes to backing up viewpoints with supporting data, we all know there'll always be a study available for any opinion out there; so if we witness a defense of a political stance, we know its because it is simply too easy to find the toadying researcher paid by the corporation or merely some unwitting scientist whose research supports a certain policy by some fluke similarity.
And forget blaming it on a broken system. Greed is inherent to human nature, and it always rises to the top (or bottom) because of the adage that supports it: The squeaky wheel gets the grease. The loudest yellers with the fewest words will always grab headlines. It doesn't matter if the message is oversimplified or even wrong, what matters is that it makes a good sound bite. Here's the built-in problem: Since the reality is that running a large country is not simple, any simplification is fraught with errors and erroneous manipulation. Yet through the conveniences honed by the mass media's MTV-style sound bite news dissemination, the political media machine keeps spouting its pretense of Fair and Balanced information, which never is held accountable for admitting bias and/or acknowledging lies, inaccuracies, whatever.
Yes, I'm calling out "Focks Nooze" here, since they are the biggest and worst offenders, masquerading lies as truths. One of the few fine and outstanding politicians of recent stature is Vaclav Havel, who begrudgingly accepted the helm of the Velvet Revolution, preferring civic action to governmental decrees; and after a period of a few years in which he facilitated transition to democracy, stepped down and went back to being a political activist, poet and scholar.
I recall a story I heard of a student of poetry writing to ask a well-known poet how to become a poet, to which the poet responded with the recommendation that he/she go find any other job, and if he/she becomes successful at that other job and preoccupied from writing poetry, he/she wasn't meant to be a poet. Creating is written into the DNA and no job or circumstance will deter it for long. Good artistic endeavors are fearless about pursuing truth. And while the premise behind being a politician is serving the people, often something happens to those in office and it mutates into self-service.
Perhaps the political lesson there is this: find artists to ascend to power for a short period. They'll help as best they can, but grow sick of a job that takes too much time away from creating their artistic work; and they'll be happy to relinquish power after a period. For an artist, an idea worth saying and doing exists in part outside of a fee schedule. The artist/politicians who don't go back to art weren't meant to remain as fearless contributors to a larger context. In time, we should oust them too. Find people who don't see politics in terms of dollar signs.
Until then, we know these politicians and their greediness. We see them. And if we don't hold them accountable, we shouldn't expect them to self-police.
If they play like 10-year-olds, they have to be treated as such. I mean, seriously... who's kidding who here?!