Only 13 percent of the American public approves of how Congress is doing its job, according to a new Galluppoll. That ties the all-time low set this past December. But even fewer independents — 9 percent — approve of Congress right now. NPR 8/16/11
This snippet was taken from a summary paragraph detailing an NPR story on Congress’s “plummeting” approval ratings. As I read this a thought hit me. How freeing? If you are a hardcore ideologue then these numbers couldn’t get any better. Independents are fence sitters, people who sit on the sidelines attempting to claim the moral high ground while not committing to a certain ideology. I will freely admit I am an ideologue (just not the kind that can get elected to congress). The partisan bickering that is taking place in Congress is “turning off” the independents who like their politics nice, neat, and bland. This includes not only the demeanor of Congress but also the policies they put out. The history of major legislation has skipped about forty years. LBJ passed truck loads of legislation most of it stuff some people see as vital to our Constitutional obligation (promote the general welfare). From Nixon to the second Bush the amount of meaningful, impactful legislation that came from the United States Congress was minimal. Barack Obama signed more significant legislation (whether you agree with it or not) into law his first two years then the previous 7 Presidents ever did.
Independents claim a non-confrontational attitude. They claim to be above the fray. I call bologna sandwich on that. Independents if put to the test are ideologues. Think of the Ideological survey we did in class. Once discussion started on the topics people inside the box would move or rethink their positions. Independents aren’t really independent if confronted with a choice they will choose they won’t sit on the sidelines and say “O’ well I am an independent I can’t really take a position on that.” Independents who claim to see both sides of an argument are intellectual cheese puffs. I believe that there are people who can and do see both sides of the issue. However those people are usually ideologues themselves. To understand an argument one must be passionate about something before hand.
Every couple of years I get in a heated discussion with an APGOPO teacher from OK. He argues that low voter turnout and a high rate of independents means that people have enough faith in the American political system that they disconnect. I say that is ridiculous. The idea that apathy equates to comfort and stability is juvenile. The American public is apathetic because our politics, and our politicians have become bland. SinceClintonthe Democrats have run to the middle trying to bring in these independents. While doing this they have forgotten their history. During the 20th century the New Deal and The Great Society programs served as reminders of the power of the American Spirit. During the New Deal FDR used work programs, and entitlements to safeguard middle to low income families. WWII the economic boom that followed would establish a large middle class. FDR’s programs in particular Social Security would become a sacred cow (this means that it is untouchable) to many Americans. LBJ and his “new deal” did much the same thing it protected middle and lower income families. The 20th Century is completely different without these two major legislative periods, our country is completely different. The Democrats back in the day use to embrace their ideology (that of change and progression) now they run scared to the middle trying to win over these self absorbed power mongers, otherwise known as independents. Democrats should turn back to their roots and embrace the constituents that allowed them to influence the 20th century in such a dramatic and profound way. There are as many people out there who don’t vote because the Democrats are to moderate then the Democrats get with these loosey-goosey independents.