There are days (and not just election days) when democracy can get depressing.
Not the process, so much, although a lot of how we do that in this country is broken, too (and there are obviously plenty of people with direct oversight of the process who have an active interest in breaking it further).
It’s the results that get you down sometimes. Some of these people we send to Congress, have you seen them? I mean — this is Congress we’re talking about. National office. The very highest levels of government.
And we elect people like Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA):
“Just so you know, global warming is a total fraud and it is being designed by—what you’ve got is you’ve got liberals who get elected at the local level want state government to do the work and let them make the decisions. Then, at the state level, they want the federal government to do it. And at the federal government, they want to create global government to control all of our lives. That’s what the game plan is. It’s step by step by step, more and bigger control over our lives by higher levels of government. And global warming is that strategy in spades.… Our freedom to make our choices on transportation and everything else? No, that’s gotta be done by a government official who, by the way, probably comes from Nigeria because he’s a UN government official, not a US government official.”
He’s on the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, because of course he is. For that matter, so is Paul Broun (R-GA), who you hopefully all remember as the “lies from the pit of hell” guy:
“God’s word is true. I’ve come to understand that. All that stuff I was taught about evolution, embryology, Big Bang theory, all that is lies straight from the pit of hell. It’s lies to try to keep me and all the folks who are taught that from understanding that they need a savior. There’s a lot of scientific data that I found out as a scientist that actually show that this is really a young Earth. I believe that the Earth is about 9,000 years old. I believe that it was created in six days as we know them. That’s what the Bible says. And what I’ve come to learn is that it’s the manufacturer’s handbook, is what I call it. It teaches us how to run our lives individually. How to run our families, how to run our churches. But it teaches us how to run all our public policy and everything in society. And that’s the reason, as your congressman, I hold the Holy Bible as being the major directions to me of how I vote in Washington, D.C., and I’ll continue to do that.”
(To be fair, Broun is on his way out in November — but it’s because he gave up running for re-election to run for the Senate instead, not because voters in his district got tired of him.)
And yeah, it’s kinda funny to pull those quotes and make a caricature of the whole right wing, but seriously, these people are Members of Congress. Which is terrifying on a practical level (their insanity actually plays a role in making the laws you and I have to live by), but also on a patriotic level: what does it really say about our country that, in some parts of it, these guys can get a majority vote?
I mean, think about that. Somewhere in the US, a fairly significant population is more than half on board with the lies from the pit of hell guy. And the global-government-UN-official-from-Nigeria guy. And an assorted host of lesser nutballs, dingbats, and loonies, all of whom are now at least partially in control of your life.
Where do we find those voters? How have we fucked up, as a country, that there is a single county anywhere within our borders that can cough up a majority for the “lies from the pit of Hell” guy who thinks the Bible is all he needs to know about voting in America? You shouldn’t be able to get a majority of parishioners at a church basement social to agree that that’s a good way to run the country, much less a voting majority in a Congressional district.
But you can. And these guys do. And then they help run the country.
And that’s why, some days, democracy feels pretty damn depressing.