In the county where I live, a whopping 42.5% of the registered voters made the effort yesterday to participate in representative government. Obviously, the “will of the people” here is to remain uninvolved in government. But who knows why? The Democrats won hugely here in California, with “Moonbeam” Jerry Brown winning the race for governor with an unofficial count of 53.8% of the vote. In terms of overall population, Brown’s 3.9 million votes is a little more than 10% of the state’s 37 million residents.
Subtracting the estimated three million illegal aliens that live in California, we can reduce 37 million to 34 million. Next, we can subtract approximately 25% of the population who are younger than 18 years old. That would be about 9 million, which brings us to about 25 million potential voters. Assuming that such a number includes legal residents who are not qualified to vote, such as non-citizens, felons and the mentally impaired, let’s subtract another 5 million. That leaves us with an estimated potential of 20 million qualified voters in California. Comparing that figure to Brown’s 3.9 million votes, we discover that the governor was elected by little more than 20% of those who have the right to vote.
These numbers are approximations, but you get the picture. Most people are not participating in self-governance. Therefore the election results are not truly representational. The silent majority has become the uninvolved majority. This fact means that we do not have a Democracy. Democracy is government that reflects the will of the majority. When the majority refuses to participate, Democracy no longer exists. Rather, we have government by sample, sort of like polling.
My personal response to this realization is grief and fear: grief for the loss of the “We The People” spirit and willingness to assume responsibility for self-governance; fear that freedom is being handed over to a ruling class who represents minority interests. But the majority doesn’t share my concern. They are content to ignore all threats to their freedoms. Of course, the majority is younger than I am. Perhaps to them I am only an angry old man. If so, I don’t think they appreciate what freedom is and how our constitution gave us the framework to maintain that freedom.
On the Rally to Restore Sanity website (http://www.rallytorestoresanity.com/) they say, “We’re looking for the people who think shouting is annoying, counterproductive …” While I respect the fact that shouting can be annoying and that reasoned debate is what we need, Jon Stewart’s “call to reasonableness” mocks the very essence of impassioned debate. Democracy can be loud and seem chaotic. If you prick a person with a pin, they will shout in pain. In a Democracy we are free to scream when we are hurt, threatened, or not being heard.
Regardless of whether one agrees with them or not, the Tea Party movement is primarily a result of the pain of job loss, increased taxation, intrusive government and the arrogance of elected officials who dismiss the desires of their constituents. Many Americans have concluded that neither the Democrats or Republicans represent their best interests anymore, which creates an environment for the growth of grass roots political movements. But to the likes of Stewart and Stephan Colbert, Genn Beck’s Restoring Honor event was as offensive as rioting Afghani Muslims. All “shouting” groups are the same to them. It’s all a big joke.
If most Americans continue to be self-absorbed drop-outs, things will get much worse. Already the constitution is being trampled on and is threatened to be destroyed. It’s no time to be content with business as usual. I think that’s worth shouting about. But who’s listening to those of us who are feeling the pain? Not the uninvolved. Not the offended. Like the frog in a warming pot, they will remain unmoved and unaware until some scoundrel really heats things up to boiling. But by then it will be too late. And in the end they will be reduced to desperate rioting just to survive.
We reap what we sew.