One of the reasons there is so much unease in the country (and in the world) is because everyday people feel completely marginalized by the powers that be. There is a sense that everyday people are now just observers, a mere audience to the actual goings on in the world. The TPP, the bailouts, the renewal of the Import-Export Bank, Obamacare, the Omnibus, and a myriad of other initiatives and legislation seem always to meet SOME resistance, but in the end always seem to get through. There is a sense that no matter what the voice of the engaged electorate does not matter. The government and its corporate, union, and other crony partners always seem to win.
There are 2 things which strike me as particularly interesting about our current situation. 1. To what degree has the electorate always been on the sidelines but we just didn’t know it? 2. Are we feeling marginalized because we have simply woken up to our situation thanks to the Internet and the information revolution?
On the first point I think that to a large degree the average person has been on the sidelines for generations. It was FDR after all who famously said that “presidents are selected, not elected.” But I also think it has gotten progressively worse over the last 80 years or so. (The word “progressively” is used on purpose here.)
On the second point I think that we are simply more aware of our situation, of the average person’s relative powerlessness. The government, the banks, appear to rule as they see fit. Lois Lerner at the IRS can get off scot-free with a nice fat government pension for the rest of her life while some guy in Houston gets hauled away by the Feds for a back $1500 student loan. Harm the people no problem. Harm the state even in the slightest and guys show up at your door.
It is frustrating to say the least. For the most part people just want to be able to play a fair game. They want to be respected. They want the decency which is expected of every private citizen to be expected from the government and its allies. These are not unreasonable requests. (Demands?)
A few days ago The Electronic Frontier Foundation reported that a significant change to the copyright parameters of the already ratified Trans Pacific Partnership was made after the fact. This small but important change could result in jail time and ruined lives for people who in no way are harming copyright holders. And this change was made AFTER RATIFICATION by lawyers during a process called “legal scrubbing.” This massive, extranational collection of laws, written by lobbyists is being changed even after our “representatives” have weighed in. Something is very wrong if this can happen.
But of course we know that something is very wrong.