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Viewpoint- Is our government really representative?

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April 8, 2011

As I write this editorial, I don't know whether the government will be shut down because the Democrats and Republicans can't agree on a budget or not.  Regardless, they've been operating without a budget for months anyway because they can't agree.  The Democrats say the Republicans are being unreasonable in the amount of spending cuts they are insisting on.  The Republicans say the Democrats are being irresponsible in the amount programs and spending they insist on when we are already in a terrible deficit.  Every president goes to Washington saying they are going to change the tone of politics and return respect and civility to the system.  Yet, it keeps getting worse.  Never have the left and right been more strident in their opinions of one another…or so it seems.  We are supposed to be a representative democracy.  Yet, one has to wonder if the American people are as divided as our elected representatives in Washington.  Are we really that fractured and bitter toward the views of each other.  If Congress is truly reflective of the citizenry…we are a house divided.  Or could it be that national politics is a world of its own…with its own agendas, ambitions and attitudes that have little to do with the regular folks they are supposed to represent?  Perhaps the truth is somewhere in the middle.  It's time for accountability and responsibility…and that's what elections are for.  But we voters too are often swayed by momentary self interests, and our memories can be quite short.  I'm Jim Cameron and that's today's Viewpoint.  Let us hear from you.