When we elect politicians, we expect them to serve their constituents – “we the people” - first and foremost. It is the basis for a modern democracy, that “we the people” are represented by those we elect, those who ask us to trust them.
Given the predominately two-party system we have in place in this democracy, we might expect our elected representatives to remain loyal to the platform on which they ran their campaign, regardless of their party. After all, they can assume their electors are likely members of the same party and that the platform or the promises made to the voters are important to them.
It is natural, we suppose, that once elected, these people who represent us may wish to get re-elected and remain in office. So their second priority might be to get re-elected next time an election rolls around. Thus their constituency becomes the people and corporations who pay for their campaigns to get re-elected.
But our present day politicians seem to have these priorities upside down!
Their first loyalty is to get themselves re-elected, raising money so they can buy votes. Their party loyalty comes next and, finally, last on the list, is serving the people who elected them in the first place.
There is no wonder why gridlock is so pervasive in our politics today given these upside down priorities. We are paying politicians to work for us and all they give us is gridlock and excuses, blaming the other party for their failures. Their first loyalty is to themselves and to the lobbyists and their clients who finance their campaigns. This assures their reelection. Their second loyalty is to their party, which shows up so conspicuously when they stand united in their explanations for their failures to govern. Finally, the last priority in the queue, is “we the people” – the ones whose interests they solemnly swear to represent – but only after they have achieved their first two priorities.
The Occupy Movement is evidence that many people are “mad as hell and don’t want to take this anymore” as was so powerfully portrayed in the movie “Network” (see six minute video clip). Maybe our politicians will respond, get their priorities straight and start serving the people they claim to represent.