The Frustrated Electorate

Pundits, columnists and bloggers of all stripes have attempted to characterize the political mood in today’s election. They have called the 2010 voters “angry,” “afraid,” “disappointed,” and even “ignorant,” “misinformed,” and “misguided.” I think there is an element to all of that in the voice that will resound on November 2nd, but I believe it all springs from one word – “frustration.”
It is not complicated. November 2, 2010 can be summarized in one simple sentence: Americans are frustrated with their government because it has not listened to them.
Healthcare reform, or to call it by its political nomenclature – “Obamacare” – is simply “Exhibit A” in the People v. The Ruling Class. The fate of the substance of healthcare reform and the acceptance of the public of its provisions is not yet known and will not be known for quite some time. But the jury has already spoken on the “process” of reform and delivered its verdict: “Guilty on all counts of the crime of not listening.” On Tuesday, we will know the sentence. I believe it will be punitive. It will be harsher than necessary in an attempt to teach a lesson that will not soon be forgotten by future ruling classes.
Let’s review the facts of just one element of the 2010 Election case:
In the late spring and early summer of 2009, the President and the Democratically controlled Congress began making their plans for healthcare reform known to the nation. Remember what transpired? Americans, by the hundreds of thousands, told their elected Federal representatives “Yeah, not so much.” They went to town meetings; they wrote letters; they made phone calls; they rallied. But the ruling class would not listen and proceeded with hearings and bill writing.
On November 3rd, 2009, the People said, “Hey maybe we should speak a little louder. It does not appears as if they heard us.” They elected Republicans to the governorships of New Jersey and Virginia.
And finally, on January 19, 2010, the People said, “Oh my goodness, it appears we are not getting through to them at all. Perhaps it is time to shout and scream and act out.” So in the Bluest of American states, in the land of Kennedy and Tip and birthplace of machine politics, they elected Scott Brown, a Republican, to the United States Senate.
Surely, they thought, they will hear us now.
On March 23, 2010, President Obama signed the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” into law.
Now the People were seething. But they waited; they plotted; they organized; they planned.
On Tuesday, they will act. They will act on their frustrations with Obamacare, which, yes, has in some cases led to “anger” and “fear.” They will act on their frustrations about the economy and what they view as the incompetence of their government to deal with it and, yes, many of them are “disappointed.” They will act on their frustration with the mounting federal debt and the spending in Washington, DC, and in Ohio and California and Pennsylvania and nearly every single small and large hamlet, village, town and city. And, oh yes, in some case they may even be “ignorant,” “misinformed” and “misguided.” But guess what? That is their right. Lecturing them and scolding them and questioning their wisdom, as the Ruling Class has done, only makes them angrier. Try that technique with some co-workers, family, friends or students. See where it gets you.
There is an old Chinese proverb that says:
“To listen well, is as powerful a means of influence as to talk well, and is as essential to all true conversation.”
In a few weeks, after they have vented, perhaps a new dialogue will emerge between the People and a reconstituted Ruling Class. Let’s hope so.

About sicoviews

Former Executive Director of the New Jersey General Assembly. Creator of
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