Monday, September 29, 2008

ELECTRONIC WARFARE COMES TO REPRESENTATIVE DEMOCRACY

Regardless of how you feel about Monday’s vote on the Bailout, you must admit the will of the people was a factor in the outcome. In its simplest form this is good. Several months ago the people flooded the e-mails of Congress and demanded that they vote no on Immigration Reform. While I was unhappy with the result, I was happy that the voice of the people was heard.

On Monday, I was very happy with the result. While the vote was occurring I was sitting in the waiting room of the Ortho clinic at the VA hospital. (Side note the carpal tunnel surgery did not go well - they are going to try injections to restore use of the left side of my left hand. The left thumb is shot. I think years of delay on my part mostly, and some on the part of the VA the surgery came too late.) The veterans were so engaged in watching the vote. I was just blown away with how they were counting the votes and speculating why so many Dems voted no. Then 2 votes changed to yes. Boy that got a lot of claims Pelosi must have promised a lot of pork barrel. It was interesting to watch a large group of people reacting to the vote.

If anyone supported voting yes, they were too afraid to express their opinion. I made the comment that the American people are resourceful and will survive a collapse. When up against a wall I believe the American people tend to step up to the plate. Being pinned in a corner tends to get us united to somehow do the right thing.

Before I link all of this to electronic warfare I want to comment on something wonderful I saw at the VA. There was a man being wheeled around by his mentally retarded adult son. We spoke for a moment. I did not inquire if he was married or had other children. It was obvious to everyone his son was mentally retarded. He said he counts on his son to take care of him. This reminded me of my late Down Syndrome aunt who took care of my grandmother. If was only after my aunt died that the decision was made to move my grandmother in with my uncle.

What I saw in this young man was a man who was not aborted and in the end such as my aunt Socorro became the care giver and not the other way around such as so many believe to be the case with mentally retarded adults. I realize this is a side note, but it is not. If this one legged old man is making a go of it with his mentally retarded son as one of his care givers, I think we can make a go of a collapse of the credit market. Do we really need more than we already have?

Electronic warfare - yes the e-mail has become the powerful voice of the people. Congress.org was just one place we the people were able to go to express our opinion on the Bailout. You still can by the way. This web link is so easy. Just type in your identifying information along with your zip code and it ID’s your two US Senators and House Member. Boom the e-mail is sent.

http://congressorg.capwiz.com/congressorg/issues/alert/?alertid=11957686

Could you imagine the Brownsville City Commission creating a similar link wherein we could e-mail with such easy our position on Impact Fees or Charter Amendments. It is certainly a free and easy way for the Commission to measure the will of the people.

In time I see City Commissions and State Governments joining the ranks of Congress.org and creating such links. This electronic warfare by the people demanding they are heard could revolutionize how government is conducted. I do believe if people can spend two minutes on the internet to be able to express their views they will. I do believe in the long-run the use of electronic warfare e-mails will cause the people to be more engaged. Regardless of how you feel about Monday’s outcome, you must admit the people were heard. I have to believe the more people believe they are heard they more involved they will become.

The question is, does greater involvement by the people mean better government? Could a well organized e-mail campaign by a political group lead to bad government? I think American Representative government is about to embark on a Renaissance. How do we make sure it does not devolve into rule my tyranny? Is the e-mail the new referendum? Can we trust the courts to turn back tyranny? Can we trust Congress to sacrifice themselves in defense of the Constitution?

I just find all of these questions fascinating. I find that there is less danger in bad government if the people can force Congress to vote no. The real danger will come when electronic warfare is used to force Congress to put legislation to a vote. I am not too worried about the latter happening anytime soon. For now I will trust in the people to do the right thing.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

My personal feeling is pretty much like everyone else. The Bush administration practiced free market economics by (among other things) reducing regulation. A bunch of greedy Wall Street types went for the American specialty, short term gains, with the collusion of board members who were providing no oversight because they were doing the same thing in the businesses that they ran. They were able to do this because no one told them not to. Eventually it had to crash. I mean, you didn't have to be an economics PhD. to wonder what was up when in every community in America young couples were getting married, buying a pair of new SUVs and a $250,000.00 house. As I watched this in my own neighborhood in Brownsville I wondered how the hell they could afford it. Well, when the red foreclosure notices started appearing on the front doors, and the tow trucks sent by the repo companies begin patrolling the block I got my answer. They couldn't afford it. Nobody cared if they could afford it because what mattered was showing a profit this quarter and next year would have to take care of it's self. Our local financial institutions are part and parcel of this. The young couple that used to live next door didn't go to Wall Street for their loan. They got it on Boca Chica Blvd.
I don't know if the $700,000,000.00 plan was a good one or not (there actually didn't seem to have been muchof a plan -- give us the money and we will figure something out), however, I do think that a major issue in congress' failure to pass it was in response to the wishes of their constituents. I saw something that claimed congressional mail was running something like eight out of ten against approval. I have a concern. Did we cut off our nose to spite our face? How many of those commenting constituents were reacting emotionally and how many had the economic background to offer a considered opinion? Do we have to bailout big business to save ourselves? I don't know. Maybe. I haven't added up any numbers but the loses in the stock market yesterday, reacting to the failure to approve a plan, were likely far beyond $700,000,000.00. Though many of us may not directly own any stocks or bonds we are, nevertheless, invested in them. If you have a pension plan is that plan invested in the market? Mine is and I am nervous. Are my monthly benefits going to be reduced? Could the entire program fail? Maybe. It took a big hit when Enron failed, as did many retirement programs.
I think that in many cases the leaders of these corporations ought to face criminal charges. I wouldn't be overly surprised if there wasn't a RICO violation in there somewhere and, at first blush, I don't care if cooperation fails due to mismanagement. But, it's kind of like a hurricane. It doesn't matter much to me if a big tree is blown over unless that tree, in falling, takes out my power line. Then I want someone to come in and remove the tree and repair the line and restore my power.
I am one of those people that doesn't have the skills to restore the power to my house myself and I am one of those people without the economic skills to know how this crisis should be addressed. I think that is probably true of many of the people that commented to their elected representatives. I hope that our representatives had (and continue to have) the good sense to make decisions because they think it a the best action for the country and not because they can not see beyond the next election. Based on recent history, I am pessimistic.
I don't know what should happen but something better happen and soon, too.
Mescalero

Mas Triste said...

Mescalero,

Good explanation except for one thing: blame Bush.

This started under carter, expanded under Clinton and several Presidents from both parties, including Bush, have done nothing.

BTW, Congress, led by both parties at various times, had plenty of opportunities and did nothing.