Your first statement (in your post #38) summarizing how I feel about this is a bit off (this is to Taxpayer). On a National level, I do feel that the political parties have separated themselves from the people they are supposed to represent. However, your second thought is not my conclusion about this; namely that “therefore the people can somehow be vanquished from taking any responsibility for their government.” This is an incorrect characterization about my position on this. In fact, I feel completely that the opposite is true. Because there is such a disconnect between the political parties and society at large, the people who are not part of this machine must come together collectively to exert their influence upon their elected officials and the political parties whom those officials represent.
Politicians like to tell us all about how they represent us when they are campaigning. But then they get into office and owe their party and so many special interests favors for getting them elected that the people end up at the bottom of the totem pole. The people need to stop tolerating this. We need to stop allowing our elected officials to put our interests last instead of first. And, no, I do not have much confidence that this can be done from the inside out (from within a political party). It’s too late for that. Both parties have grown too wealthy and too powerful and they are now locked in a power struggle with one another. This can only be done at the grass roots level, in my opinion.
You mentioned the tea party movement in a different post elsewhere in this thread. I think that movement needs to exercise caution at this point. I believe that over the summer when the town hall meeting were being held regarding health care legislation, that many regular people were turning out to both the town halls and the tea party rallies. But now, that movement is beginning to align themselves with Sarah Palin and there’s talk among tea party organizers about uniting to form a new, third party. To me, doing such a thing would be a mistake. They risk going from grass roots to mainstream if they officially become a party and if they align themselves with a Republican who is a controversial and somewhat polarizing figure. The focus needs to stay with the people.
In one sense, that is how Scott Brown gained all of the momentum that he did. Even though he is a registered Republican, he had a relatively small campaign budget in the beginning and conducted his campaign on a grass roots level by driving his personal vehicle all over the state to get out and meet people and talk with them. He got away with calling himself an independent even though he’s a registered Republican because he does have a record of working with the Democrats in the State legislature. And although not yet sworn in, he’s already told the Democrats in Washington that he is open to their ideas and he has told the Republicans that he owes them nothing and will vote as he feels is in the best interest of the people of his state, on an issue-by-issue basis, not based on pressure from a political party. I think that’s why people got excited about him and got behind him. He didn’t just talk about actually representing the people during his campaign – all politicians talk about doing that. But by his actions of using his own vehicle, not something a campaign (ie. political party or special interest group) bought for him, and investing his own time to drive all over the state and talk with the regular people, that showed a sincere committment to represent the people. It will be interesting to see how long he can hold out against the lobbyists, the money, and leaders of his party. I sincerely hope that he remains the independent thinker he appeared to be on the campaign trail and does not just fall in lock-step with his party, and does not become a puppet for special interests, nor a vote for Democrats to manipulate against the Republicans.
The Scott Brown that we saw during his campaign, both in his words and in his actions, one who seems to be an independent thinker and a fair-minded person, that’s the kind of person (though preferably he/she would be unaffiliated with either party) that we need more of to keep both parties in check. I just hope he can actually be the person he held himself out to be and remain so now that he’ll be swimming with the sharks in D.C.