Thoughtful representatives who have your best interest at heart, or lying powerhungry crooks? You be the judge.
On January 11 there was an amendment on the floor to the Legislative Transparency and Accountability Act of 2007. It was introduced by Senator Jim DeMint of S.C. and it’s purpose is to make the Senate’s spending more “transparent and accountable”, in other words so we can see what they’re spending money on. That will make it harder for them to get away with the special-interest crap that is so common. It’s the same thing that was approved in the new House rules. Sounds like a great idea to me.
Now here’s where it gets interesting. There was a motion to kill the measure. Some people in the Senate didn’t like the idea of being accountable. The motion failed by a vote of 51 to 46. Almost half of those bastards voted to kill it. The way it’s supposed to work is that a winning vote approves the measure. However, some Democrats objected which put it on hold. The Senate’s new leadership is using the hold time to convince more to vote their way. These are the people who promised to end the “culture of corruption”.
The fact that almost half of them don’t want us to know what they’re spending money on is something I find despicable. We can’t shoot them (legally), but we can at least let them know we disapprove of them. You might think that calling or sending an email to your Congressman is pointless because they don’t have to listen to you, you’re just one person. But here’s how it works: they know that most people aren’t going to take the time to contact them. Most people will just complain to their friends and leave it at that. They figure that out of 1,000 people, 50 will contact them. This gives us a huge advantage. The opinions of 50 people who write in equal the opinions of 1,000 voters. That means it takes just 50 people letting them know what they think to make an issue a higher priority. Suppose 300 people contact a particular Congressman. That translates to 6,000 voters’ opinions. A lot of people not liking what a politician is doing is his greatest fear (even more than being caught with his hand in the cookie jar) because it means a lot of people won’t vote for him next time around. Most of these people can be counted on to do two kinds of things: things that make them wealthy and things that get them re-elected. Let them know that second thing isn’t going to happen if they don’t do what their voters demand. Spending wisely and being accountable should be on top of that list. If we don’t force them to make the right decisions, a lot of them won’t.
UPDATE: The Senate has unanimously approved Senator Jim DeMint’s amendment due to thousands of people emailing and calling their Congressmen.