29 August 2009

The Pulse of the People?

The specific subject of Norman Greenfield's letter to the Albany Times Union is the scandal and faction-ridden New York State legislature, but he may be expressing a more widespread frustration with representative government in general:

We are asked, by editorial comment, to continue to 'peel the onion until 2010' when we shall, presumably, vote the rapscallions out of office. Need we wait? Can we not try to impeach these thieves for malfeasance in office? If not, can we not emulate the French in 1789 and reinstate the guillotine? Please, something must be possible besides sitting on our hands in dumb inaction.
Our Founding Fathers held the belief that, in the course of time, this institution would demonstrate, with the greatest clarity, the achievements of which the American people are capable. Instead, we find that governmental protections are not up to handling legislatively empowered lawbreakers.
A nation should stand with a leadership generating ideals and ethics rather than those exercising the rule of law for selfish economic advantage.
If Americans no longer trust each other to represent each other for even two years at a time, if there is in fact a growing clamor for something along the lines of recall for every elected official, is that a good sign for democracy or a bad sign for republicanism? -- small r, please note. History warns us that when people feel oppressed by an elite, they are often just as happy to leave things to one strong leader, the big bully who can beat up the little bullies, as they are to take and keep matters in their own hands. Mr. Greenfeld's vague remark about "a leadership generating ideals and ethics" makes one wonder a little. A helpful editor might have changed this to "A nation's people should generate ideals and ethical leadership," but that'd be reading my own ideas into someone else's letter.


Anonymous said...

It's not so much that Americans don't trust one another to represent them, it's that they don't trust the other party to represent them. Well, that and the common belief that all politicians are scoundrels, out for themselves.

Anonymous said...

I wonder why the writer used the word "thieves" and I wonder exactly what high crimes and misdemeanors have been committed that would lead to a reason for impeachment proceedings? Or is this just another case of sour grapes because his "team" lost the election?