WHAT OTHERS SAY: Don't like politics? Disengaging is no solution

Wednesday, August 13, 2014 | 6:00 a.m. CDT

An axiom of American politics is citizens that dislike Congress but not their congressman.

That maxim is reflected both in a new Associated Press-GfK poll and in the result of last week's primary.

The poll findings largely focus on citizens’ dislike for Congress. Those finding include:

  • Only 28 percent of Americans believe the nation is heading in the right direction.
  • A mere 13 percent of Americans approve of the way Congress is handling its job.
  • Neither political party is trusted much to manage government, with 27 percent indicating little faith in Republicans and 24 percent in Democrats.
  • Overall, 36 percent want their own member of Congress re-elected, while 62 percent favor someone else.
  • Among Americans who identify themselves as highly likely to vote this fall, 43 percent would like to see their representative in Congress re-elected.

The poll indicates Americans are frustrated by politics, which may prompt them to become disengaged, a notion reinforced by Missouri’s dismal statewide voter turnout, which failed to attain 25 percent.

Nevertheless, the second part of the axiom — people like their own congressman — also is supported by the primary results.

In Missouri, all eight incumbents in the U.S. House advanced, including three who faced no primary opponent.

An additional ingredient to be considered — one we highlighted after the filing deadline — is the obvious dearth of candidates for public office.

In this forum on April 8, two political science professors addressed some of the political and financial hurdles that cause prospective candidates to say “why bother?”

This “why-bother?” attitude is becoming an epidemic, infusing and paralyzing the American electorate.

Indicators show we are in a political tailspin.

Faith in government is plummeting and our reaction, disengagement and apathy, will not avert political calamity.

Copyright Jefferson City News Tribune. Reprinted with permission.

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Richard Saunders August 13, 2014 | 7:32 a.m.

Politics is EVIL, thus disengagement is the only moral option. Never feed The Beast with support OR active opposition, as both only further empower those who choose to enslave others. The only positive action is to walk away, and The Beast will die under it's own unsustainable weight. Do not trust anyone who tries to convince you otherwise.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith August 13, 2014 | 8:49 a.m.

Politics is/are evil? Maybe the REAL problem, Richard, is that both politics and those attempting to make a living from practicing them or commenting about those practicing it appear to be VASTLY OVERRATED!

Politics, no matter whose, has/have never been VAST, but an excellent case can be made that more than a little of it is decidedly HALF-VAST.

I note this must be our day for multiple subjects. Indeed, funding for, and availability of, psychiatric services is a national problem. A major provider in the Des Moines metro area just closed their services, saying that while they are continuing to provide (even expand) other clinical services they can't continue forever in the financial red with psychiatric ones. This has caused even persons who can easily afford such servies to scramble for alternate providers. An inital appointment with a new provider now runs to late October or early November.

All for today from Arkansas del Norte, aka Phelps County, Missouri, where our men are strong and our women are truly glad of it. Please pass the Skoal. :)

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking August 13, 2014 | 12:10 p.m.

" The only positive action is to walk away, and The Beast will die under it's own unsustainable weight."

No. All that will do is take the vote away from you. It will mean that a handful of people control who gets elected and what policies are enacted.

You may as well wish for a benevolent dictatorship (which is an ideal form of government but has never been practically achieved).


(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith August 14, 2014 | 6:21 a.m.

@ Mark Foecking:

I agree that a benevolent dictatorship has yet to be achieved in the ADULT world, but such a condition was achieved in private primary education.

Consider the case of "Our Lady of Perpetual Misery" parochial grade school, where Sister Luke reigned supreme. Sister Luke was definitely a benevolent dictator.

Sister Luke would have been envied by agents of governments such as National SOCIALISM or the Union of Soviet SOCIALIST Republics in that she had perfected her ability, using nothing more than a ruler, to inflict instant pain by rapping an errant student's knuckles - yet leaving no lasting marks of inflicted torture.

Students thus disciplined quickly learned not to go home and complain to their parents, as the parents might take another ruler and administer further punishment - not necessarily to the student's knuckles.

Thank heavens, Mark, that we live in a more "enlightened" era. :)

(Report Comment)

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