Do we still have a government of, by and for the people?

I’ve got the so-called conservative slant in my thinking. Perhaps I’m prone to so-called conspiracy theories as well. Whatever. I am an intelligent, educated person who seeks to further my learning and consider all things rationally before drawing conclusions. I don’t have everything right, but I don’t think I’m completely wrong in my interpretation of the world we live in.

The United States of America was founded to be operated under a government of representatives for the people. This is most memorably stated by President Abraham Lincoln in his Gettysburg Address of 1863, three months after the awful battle in the town of Gettysburg. Lincoln said:

We here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom; and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” (Source)

Of the people, by the people and for the people. Well, the government is still staffed with elected representatives by the people, but I call into question whether or not the collective representation is really of the people. I also doubt the part about being for the people, but I’m not going to address that right now.

I’m just giving an opinionated commentary here, so don’t take this as a suggestion of fact. I will clarify that I am not a supporter of the Occupy Wall Street movement or any similar factions. I believe in family, God and country. I think people should have the right to succeed and fail. I like capitalism for this, however, I wish that people would be more charitable towards one another, not in giving handouts, but in giving a hand up. There’s a difference. This is my preface to saying that I don’t believe we have a government of the people anymore because I don’t think the elected politicians have any idea what it is like to be one of the people.

This is observation today is based on wealth and net worth, so I hesitate to give too much weight to my thoughts, because I am not opposed to people having a lot of wealth in and of itself; rather, I’m opposed to people allowing themselves to become corrupted by that wealth, but I can’t really blame them. It seems it is human nature and difficult to overcome (although possible) the corruption that comes from power which inevitably seems to follow wealth in many cases. The power can be real or imagined, but money does provide increased power over time and resources. I’m not suggesting that wealthy people can’t be valid representatives, but I am suggesting that they don’t seem to do the job very well. At least from what I can see. Comments?

I’ll give you the references that got me going on this topic and then you can consider my state of mind by seeing if you draw similar conclusions from the same data. First, a few days ago I was given a link to a video about perceptions of wealth distribution in the U.S. This video presents survey results of how people think the wealth in the U.S. is distributed along with how they think it should ideally be distributed. Then it compares these scales with the real numbers.

Next, I read about Vice President Joe Biden not giving up some of his salary to show solidarity with his staff who are getting pay cuts due to sequestration. In the article I read it provided the net worth of a few high ranking administration officials along with the annual salary of Biden and his wife. I don’t care about Biden or anyone else giving up a portion of their salary in solidarity, in fact, I think those who are doing it are disingenuous. The topic does make me think about the wealth distribution scale in the video. How many of our elected officials are skewed over into that wealthy segment? Do they really live the same life as everyone else? Is what they do really worth what we are allowing them to pay themselves? I don’t think wealth should be a factor that determines whether or not someone should be able to serve, but unfortunately, I think it is. I’m not trying to be a conflict theorist and say the wealthy are oppressing anyone, I’m simply wondering if they truly represent the people if they are so far removed.

money isnt evilOkay, I suppose I am saying the wealthy are oppressing everyone, only it isn’t because of the money, it is because of who they become because of the money. Money isn’t evil, the love of money is evil (just like guns don’t kill people, people kill people). This is where I would type “All I’m saying is…” but I don’t know if I have a statement to finish that sentence. Maybe I’m not so much saying something as I am asking it. Which makes sense since the title of this post is in the form of a question. And that’s the question I’m asking, so, all I’m asking is do we still have a government of, by and for the people?

What do you think?


About paulbrodie

I am a writer and a musician. My education is in psychology with emphasis in industrial/organizational psychology. My work experience has been primarily with electronic document management. Academically and intellectually I am interested in criminology and sociology. I am married to my favorite person in the world and we have one daughter.
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