What’s a Voter to Do?

July 13, 2012 | By | 7 Comments

You’re probably reading this post because you’re fed up with the gridlock that’s taken hold of our government. The situation stems largely from the hyper-partisanship of politics in America these days. As CNN contributor Jon Avlon notes, our politics are more polarized than at any point in our recent history. And it isn’t just a feeling; Avlon points to a recent poll from the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press to back up his assertion. “Welcome to the new bigotry,” Avlon snarkily beckons, “where a person’s partisan identification is a source of prejudice, seen as a reflection of fundamentally different values, representative of an alien America.”

The good news is that there are signs Americans are getting tired of all the bickering and nonsense—a healthy rebellion against the division and dysfunction, Avlon calls it. According to the Pew survey, he reports, a record number of Americans are declaring their independence and proactively rejecting both the Republican and Democratic parties:

As in surveys past, we can see that independent voters tend to be closer on economic issues to Republicans and closer to Democrats on social issues. Most importantly, while the two parties are deeply polarized, independent voters’ attitudes on issues most closely parallel the American people as a whole. At heart, most Americans are nonideological problem-solvers, and that’s a quality we see less and less of in our politicians.

So…what’s a voter to do at the polls this fall? In this, our 236th year of independence from our colonial masters, we might consider declaring independence from our partisan affiliations. Before you head out to vote, take some time to familiarize yourself with the options—both the candidates and the issues—on which you’ll be casting a ballot. Think about what sort of results you can expect from a vote cast one way or the other. Then cast a vote for the results you want rather than simply voting one side of the ticket. You might not agree with everything “the opposition” stands for, but they might have a good idea or two.

Changing the culture of hyper-partisanship won’t happen overnight. But if voters send a clear message that they’re tired of the shenanigans, and want real results that contribute to the common good of our great nation, the parties will respond. They fail to do so at their own peril!

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Comments (7)

  1. Henry Thomas

    I am looking for a way to get a group of people together that would like to see the members of congress fired and replaced.

    If we, the members of society thatthey are elected to represent, performed at our jobs as poorly as they do, we would be unemployed.

    When the founding fathers drafted the constitution and set this government up, it could not have been imagined that one day, the members elected by the people to maintain the good order and discipline of our country, would sit back behind their desk and do nothing for the people. They know that they are getting paid and don’t have to perform at their jobs because no one has ever held them accountable for their actions or lack of. If the members of congress had to work to secure their position, we would have solutions to the problems of this country like the physical cliff and the national debt. As long as “we the people” don’t hold them accountable, they will continue to sit back and ride this country into the ground while we sit by and watch. All they need is the threat of loosing that secure future, like the majority of the middle class of america, and they will act on issues as they are elected to do.

    I beleive that we do need a congress to provide an equal and balance discussion of the issues at hand but there are a lot of good people in the country that are willing to act or take a stance without being bought out or working deals under the table to progress their own standard of living.

    Lets unite and light a fire under both houses so that they will do their jobs and solve these problems. They have the education and resources to preform at these positions but are not utilizing them. The only way to get this ball rolling is to unite and let them know what is on the table. Their Jobs…

  2. kathryn

    How can we make them accountable? I had an idea for a pledge for them to sign, but I do not know how to implement it or to enforce it. Do you know how this can be done?

    • Pledges are an interesting idea, but ironclad oaths can lead to negative consequences as well. Consider the no-tax pledge that Grover Norquist has extracted from many Republican lawmakers: it’s a primary driver of the gridlock that’s gripping Washington these days. And while most folks favor lower tax rates (for themselves), that’s not always a good idea. We have to do something to reign in our country’s debt, and a fair balance between spending cuts and increased revenue is the most logical–and, in the long run, probably the most effective–means of dealing with the situation.

      At Fire Congress, we recommend that the politically active remain abreast of legislative activity and contact their elected representatives to express their opinions about upcoming votes. (You might also work with lawmakers to initiate legislation.) And, of course, you can always join with others who share your views to express your opinion at the ballot box. If your current delegate doesn’t represent you, replace him or her with someone who will!

  3. Nicole

    From my understanding Congress and the whole lot of them already take a verbal pledge. I think at this point they are just words to Congress. Those that take the pledge also know its probably gonna take an army to enforce it. I don’t believe their word means anything any more. They just play the game to get in and then they are part of the good old boy club. If we could vote in someone that stuck with their word and wouldn’t sell us out for a cash value. People used to do million dollar deals with a hand shake. Because a persons word meant something. These people in Congress were never taught this. Sell Outs, is what they are.

  4. Chet

    How about them working for free or at least minimum wage! No benefits and certainly no freebies unless it’s voted on by us,a little taste of their own medicine and areal turn of the tables Oh I certainly say its time!

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