SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Opinion

July 27, 2013

McFeatters: What can we do about Congress? Plenty

Apparently, Congress is now about as unpopular as it’s ever been in our history. This is shocking.

Once there was a congressman who caned a colleague on the floor. There were times when sex scandals were rampant (even before Anthony Weiner). There have been decades of open, awesome corruption. Legislators have sold their votes. And Congress was twice as popular as it is now.

It’s bad when only 15 percent think Congress is doing a good job. (And, once again, we ponder — who are those people and why are they so wantonly optimistic?)

Americans say they want all of our senators and representatives — all of them — gone.

So, does that mean no incumbents are going to be returned to office in the next big election in 2014? Of course not. Most incumbents are perfectly safe. To be certain, they are out raising money for their re-election campaigns. But secretly, they are complacent about retaining their seats, salaries and perks of office.

So that must mean that if we have a lousy Congress — which lack of compromise, near total gridlock and inaction on our most pressing problems indicate we do — it’s our fault.

Unless we believe strongly in an issue, such as abortion or the tea party or guns, we do not call up our congressperson (most don’t even know who he/she is) and ask for action. We do not write them. We do not email. We do not write letters to the editor.

Most of us complain, shrug our shoulders and conclude while sighing in resignation, “What’s a voter to do?”

Another problem is that congressional districts have been so artificially gerrymandered that Republican legislators are held to account basically only by Republicans and Democrats cater mainly to Democratic voters. Some members of Congress wouldn’t know a swing voter if they tripped over one lying outside their office.

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