Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Sequel to We the People

The other day I read in the paper’s Opinion Page a letter referring to the accountability or “unaccountability” (italics mine) of our government. In it the writer asked, “When are we, the people, going to make our government accountable?” The question not only begs to be answered, it invites a closer scrutiny.
The writer puts her question quite rightly. She didn’t ask “When will the government be accountable?” Instead, she ask, “When will we, the people, make our government accountable. The emphasis is on “we the people.” It clearly shows that the burden is entirely on us. The truth is that we, as a people, are complainers. We are passive users and many times vocal abusers of a system that was given us by our inspired forefathers who saw in us, the people, a nation and not an economy, which regrettably is what lately we are being programmed to be. But in all fairness, even today there are innumerable examples of the government being accountable. Unfortunately the accountability appears to favor mainly the privileged among us, namely, those special interests groups who through their lobbies make their voices heard. We, the “mainstream” people, have few lobbies other than our representatives in Congress, who unfortunately, like Judas in another time, often succumb to the temptation of a few pieces of silver, and a handful of advocacy groups whose non-profit status many times ignores overly generous salaries and other pecuniary benefits for their executives. So how can “we the people” make our government accountable? Not by imitating the powerful corporate or political lobbies with their bribes and corruption, but by a more direct action at the grassroots level. By boycotting politicians whose track records are shady, instead of falling again and again for their empty promises and constant personality “reinventions;” by boycotting products and services whose prices are visibly not based on honest costs and returns but on “what the market can bear,” that fabulous market economy formula that legitimizes, indeed decriminalizes in some cases, the once reprehensible, if not illegal, price gouging; by doing “en masse” what that letter writer did – flood our newspapers’ opinion pages with our observations and yes, legitimate complaints; by shouting from our allegoric rooftops: “We wont take this anymore. We want our country back!”

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