August 2nd, 2010

An Inversion of Political Intimidation

photo credit: Joel

Americans fear their government.

It was not supposed to be that way.

Despite only 11% of Americans having confidence in Congress, the masses seem either unwilling or unable to hold their representatives accountable and remove from office those whose (relatively) absolute power has absolutely corrupted them.

It’s quite natural for people to be intimidated by those in power. Employees are often nervous around the company president, students never want to be sent to the principal’s office, and anytime a driver sees a police officer in his rear view mirror, his heart rate accelerates faster than his car ever could. There’s just something about having to deal with authority figures that naturally makes such influential people seem intimidating. Knowing that the other person can, through a single decision or action, significantly alter (and worsen) your life puts the potential victims in a default position of apprehension and submission.

This, of course, is why people fear their government. Through a single piece of (lobbyist-written, never-read, massively long) legislation, one’s business can be destroyed, rights can be suppressed, and quality of life can be decreased to such a degree that a pursuit of happiness becomes subject to the government’s permission and discretion. Compounded bill after bill, session after session, the American people have been legislated into a corner and made to bow as serfs before an oppressive, omnipotent master.

This needs to change.

It’s beyond time for politicians—those who supposedly represent us and are employed at our collective behest—to be intimidated by their constituents and all citizens, rather than promoting and relishing in culture of self-aggrandizing power lust. Simply put, the political class must be put on notice that their future is on the line unless they actually represent those who elected them and play by the rules.

For this to be possible, pressure must be added to the process. Rather than simply writing letters to the editor about or sending emails to a certain congresscritter, concerned citizens need to organize en masse to collectively flex their political muscle and make their voices heard and concerns understood—not merely during election season, but constantly.

Congress has historically enjoyed re-election rates in the mid to high 90 percentile, leading them to feel comfortable and entitled. Fortunately, this election cycle has shaken things up already, and if the trend is to continue to any degree, individuals must explore and implement effective ways of creating and perpetuating intimidation amongst the political class. No longer can they feel entitled; they must continually earn the opportunity to be entrusted with power. No longer should they wield that power for their own benefit; they must serve their constituents. No longer will they be afforded any comfort; they must be made to feel uncomfortable.

The tables are turning right now, lightly balancing on a fulcrum of citizen activism. The extent to which more individuals get angry, get informed, and get to work on “throwing the bums out” will determine whether or not the entitled, power-hungry political class can be checked and made to fear the collective, coordinated, concentrated power of concerned citizens around the country.

So prepare some pink slips and eviction notices—it’s time to put the politicians on notice that their employer and landlord is preparing to kick them out. Citizens must show the government who the real boss is.

6 Responses to “An Inversion of Political Intimidation”

  1. Jeremy Nicoll
    August 2, 2010 at 9:37 am #

    Abso-freaking-lutely. Being nice has its place, but not when dealing with those who lie, cheat, and steal to your face. I’d start mentioning names (*cough* Bob Bennett *cough*), but then I’d have to list just about every elected “representative”. At least we’ve gotten rid of that forked tongued congressman this election season.

  2. Kelly W.
    August 2, 2010 at 9:24 pm #

    Connor, I sense you are calling for a revolution. I agree.

    But we must be aware that even Obama was elected on this premise of “change.” I was just listening to some of his campaign promises. He said that within a short time of his inauguration, he’d bring all the troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan! He even used the words: “And you can take that to the bank!”

    So in a sense, the warmonger bums who were in charge of the White House were “thrown out” on the promise of reversing the awful policies that were forced upon us during the Cheney/Bush administration. But, as we see, all who voted for Obama thinking they were “throwing the bums out” were indeed deceived.

    (I didn’t vote for Obama, though, voting for a third party candidate instead.)

  3. Kelly W.
    August 2, 2010 at 9:29 pm #

    Here’s a nice article very closely related to your post – it even cites your 11% figure in the opening paragraph, and talks about “throwing the bums out.”

  4. Aaron Bradley
    August 4, 2010 at 2:51 pm #

    I agree whole-heartedly! We need citizens interested in their future to pay attention, in order for this concept to actually occur. Less time ‘invested’ in TV shows, celebrity watching, and apathy towards community will be neccessary.

  5. David
    August 6, 2010 at 12:51 pm #


    The fact that so many were fooled by the hollow promises of Obama is a good reminder of how far from engaged most citizens are. It really was not hard to see that his best promises were almost certain to be abandoned and that the only solution to that would be for people to be voting before the options were functionally Obama vs McCain.

  6. Sean Hullinger
    August 16, 2010 at 11:20 pm #

    Agreed! I’m hoping that more people decide to stand up for themselves this election. I will tell you, though, that there has been very little response to non-Republican candidates in Utah County this time around. And when I say very little, I mean almost nothing.

    I’ve been very curious to see what will happen this November. If there was ever a time when non-Ruling Party people had a chance to effect change, it’s this year and 2012. But so far there is a lot of rhetoric, and little action.

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