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Democracy and Power 112: Conflicts of interest
The politician seeks a position of power, which requires the votes of his constituents. However to be a power elite, the politician must be a loyal member of a party. Often, the interest of the politician’s constituents and loyalty to the party are in conflict.
As a member of a legislative body, it is nearly impossible for an individual politician to advance their legislation by themselves. The successful politician must be in the majority or needed by the majority.
Thus, the politician must cooperate and compromise with his fellow members. In America, this is logically accomplished by being a loyal and obedient member of the Democratic or Republican parties.
Why have three Democratic Members of Congress sent demanding and derogatory messages to President Obama requesting his administration desist from suing to stop Arizona’s immigration law? Very simple. Their constituents heavily favor the law (70%) and this is an election year.
Sean J. Miller of The Hill reports:
Rep. Harry Mitchell (D-Ariz.) on Monday sent a sharply worded letter to President Barack Obama urging him not to sue. “I believe your administration’s time, efforts and resources would be much better spent securing the border and fixing our broken immigration system,” the two-term congressman wrote in the letter. “Arizonans are tired of the grandstanding, and tired of waiting for help from Washington. … [A] lawsuit won’t solve the problem. It won’t secure the border, and it won’t fix our broken immigration system.”
What is to be learned by actions of the Members of Congress from Arizona? They have a conflict of interest – loyalty to the party versus the preferences of their constituents? Generally, Americans are unaware of the action taken by the federal government. For example, presently, important and expensive legislative decisions are being contemplated by Congress – extending unemployment benefits, Medicare payments, Cap and Trade, and reforming Wall Street to name a few.
Few people from Arizona, or anywhere else in America, are aware of and focused on these important decisions. Citizens simply do not have the time and energy to follow all of the actions of Congress. Americans are preoccupied with earning a living, raising a family and community to activities. Hence Members of Congress normally place loyalty to their party over the best interests of their constituents and the country.
This is a rare occasion where the constituents are acutely aware of the dangerous drug cartels, resulting in Arizona's law and the Obama Administration’s opposition. Thus in Arizona, Democratic members of Congress who want to retain their positions of power must first placate their voting constituents.
Unfortunately, this is how democracy in America works.
The late Walter Lippmann’s assessed:
Successful … politicians are insecure and intimidated men. They advance politically only as they placate, appease, bribe, seduce, bamboozle or otherwise manage to manipulate the demanding and threatening elements in their constituencies. – Walter Lippmann (1889-1974), American Journalist and Author
The major lesson:
Only aware and participating citizens can cause good governance. Join FreedomWorks to join a knowledgeable and forceful team dedicated to good governance and personal freedom.