According to a recent Rasmussen survey only 22% of the nation’s likely voters believe the government today has derived “their just powers from the consent of the governed,” as stated in the Declaration of Independence. One has to wonder where all the others believe the government does get its power.
Barring an occasional scandal or fiasco in the mechanics of voting, the members of Congress and the incumbent administration hold their offices only because we put them there. If they fail to govern by our consent, who is to blame?
The right to vote comes with a duty of due diligence. In the age of the Internet we have instant means to root out truth from campaign rhetoric. If candidates grossly misrepresent themselves it can easily be discovered. Being lied to is no excuse
More common, perhaps, candidates shy away from issues that might endanger there chances for election. If such issues matter to us, however, we have the right to demand that they take a stance. Once in office we have the obligation to see that they live up to their promises.
All of that, however, seems to be too much bother for most voters. Yet we cannot be governed by our consent if we fail to participate. It is easy to slap the label of “special interests” on those who wield influence over the government, but they are simply a minority that zealously participates in the process. The American majority would be a far greater special interest group if it participated with equal zeal.
The majority is itself a delusion, however. In the past 10 Presidential elections only slightly more than half of the eligible voters cast their ballots, and more than 25% of registered voters failed to go to the polls. In mid year elections over 62% of eligible voters failed to exercise their right as did nearly half of the registered voters.
As an old adage goes, when we point a finger at the government, three fingers are pointing back at us.