Brain Droppings: American democracy as fake as Santa Claus
The U.S. democracy and Santa Claus have one thing in common– neither is real.
Santa is one of the most beautiful lies ever told. Like any kid, I anticipated Christmas months in advance because of him. I believed in magic back then.
During my early childhood, I also believed the government, like Santa Claus, knew what it was doing. I was taught that I had a voice in the political system and that America was run by the people, for the people. Unfortunately, the more I learn about U.S. politics, the more imaginary these ideas of democracy seem.
According to the Congressional Research Service, the overwhelming majority of Congress members are white males whose dominant professions are law, public service/politics, and business. The median age of current House members is 56.7 years. For the Senate, the median age is 62.2 years.
This is not representative of America at all. Where are the scientists? Shouldn’t they be voting on issues that affect the environment, since they are the ones who are most educated about them? Where are the waitresses and garbage collectors? Don’t they deserve a chance to have a say on laws that affect whether or not they can afford health care?
And where are all the women? Though roughly 51 percent of the U.S. population is women, they make up only 16.8 percent of Congress.
Another unfortunate trend is that only the wealthy are represented in America. According to The Center for Responsive Politics, “About 47 percent of Congress, or 249 current members, are millionaires…In 2010, the estimated median net worth of a current U.S. senator stood at an average of $2.56 million.”
No wonder the GOP is against taxing the rich. I’m sorry, Congress members, but the sound of the clinking coins in your bank accounts prevents me from hearing your counter-argument.
Though I don’t believe in Santa anymore, I still believe in the love and social bonds that many cultures emphasize during this time of the year. In the same way, I still believe in the spirit of democracy. All people should have a voice.
With enough awareness, things can change. Movements like Occupy Wall Street may be a step in the right direction toward exposing the current power imbalance. As for this holiday season, the government continues to be run by the old, white, rich men, for the old, white, rich men.
Scott Novak is an Opinion Editor for The Patriot and jcpatriot.com.