Paul Jacob

Americans are a do-it-yourself people. We figure out how things work. We fix things. Well, not me ? but my wife and most people.

But there's one thing we can't seem to fix. Our politics.

There's something very wrong. We all know it ? Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, Greens, Populists, Independents. Today, there is no principle, no honor, no morality in politics ? just our team versus their team and win at all costs, by hook and with crook. Americans may like to win, but winning isn't enough. Perhaps that sappy old saying, "It's not whether you win or lose, it's how you play the game" has a universal truth to it.

It all boils down to process ? and the politicians who are protected by it. Politics has always been a racket, no doubt. But today's racket is more controlled and less competitive than in the past. The disdain our pretend representatives show for any sort of democratic control by the voters is tellingly brazen; unchecked by principle and honor, they adamantly remain unchecked by us, too.

The problems we face will not be solved by arrogant politicians. Won't even be attempted, for the most part. We citizens must solve it in our do-it-yourself tradition. Which means we need more than just a voice; we must take charge.

Who's In Charge, Here?

Politicians do not listen. With all the advantages of incumbency, they don't have to listen. Worse yet, they do not believe they should listen to what you and I think. Sure, they say they are fighting for us little guys, but they treat us not as sovereigns, certainly not as their bosses, not even as their equals. To them we are simple-minded serfs in need of their legal guardianship.

Last week, I told the story of Jack Adsit, a regular guy who fought to win a term limits initiative in Wyoming only to be treated viciously by his so-called servants in public office.


Paul Jacob

Paul Jacob is President of Citizens in Charge Foundation and Citizens in Charge. His daily Common Sense commentary appears on the Web and via e-mail.