Earlier in the year the Washington Nationals gave their city some hope that something good would come out of them playing there. It didn't materialize, just as many hopes fail, but Washington is a city ripe for failure. It is the seat of our federal government when it's open for business ; it's a joke in the Capitals of the World when some legislators shut Washington down.
The Nationals rely on their ability to play baseball but, how they play, is registered in the statistics compiled for them as individuals and collectively as a team. Our legislators play a different kind of game. They rely on their ability to ignore the oath they took before they inhabit the office they won in the election.
Legislators still seem able to count, at least, they add their names to straight party votes. Votes are recorded so the general public should know who voted for what. But most votes that affect constituents' interest are hidden from them in the rhetoric of local politicians propaganda. Through the privilege of franking they swamp mailboxes near election time while using telephone Town Halls the rest of the year to press their issues, whether true or hyped.
Yet, there is a set of statistics that really matters to politicians and voters, but should also, especially, matter to you. It is the the set of numbers that tells the public just how the country views the work of each branch of government. The latest poll, post shutdown of the federal government, shows a sharp decline in the publics opinion of congress's work. The numbers indicate that the country feels congress's ability to perform the job each member was voted in office to do has not been met. Their favorable rating is trending down below 20% and in some cases approaching 10%.
Certainly no baseball team, not even the Nationals, could play with players who had such little success as our congressmen have. Why in the World should "we the public" have to ? We, the rightful owners of our government, have as much right to hire new players to run our government as does the owner of the Nationals has the right to hire new players to take the field for him.
Next year, 2014, after the Nationals pickup a few players they'll figure on being more competitive. Next year, after the elections when we throw the "bums" out of office, the country should have a chance to have a more responsive government from our new group of legislators.
Our responsibility is to use the ballot box in the way it was intended : in a democratic society the power rests with the public through the use of one man one vote rule. Within your reach, through the use of the right to vote, is a chance to change the players who run our government. Use it properly or you waste it !
Ronald C. Downie