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What's The Matter With Congress?

Christopher Steele |
September 15, 2010 | 11:48 p.m. PDT


Fed up with Congress
Fed up with Congress

Americans are fed up with what the elected officials are doing on Capitol Hill. As a country, we are done waiting around for something to happen; we want to see something done to fix the problems we are facing.

Here are a few numbers that reflect how the American public feels about Congress and its members.  According to recent Gallup polls, only 33 percent of Americans approve of the Democrats in Congress, while just 32 percent approve of the Republican members of Congress.  Congress as whole has a 75 percent disapproval rating, with only 19 percent of Americans saying they approve of what Congress is doing.  Last, but not least, in a poll conducted in July, half of Americans said that they have “very little or no confidence in Congress”.  These numbers should serve as a wake up call to Congress.  The members of Congress should be embarrassed to know that the people who elected them to make decisions that affect our country, have no faith in them.  Yet, Congress continues to make no effort to promote change in the United States.

These numbers show that it is not just one party to blame for our problems.  Both parties are equally to blame for the problems we are faced with as a nation, as neither side of the aisle has been able to come up with any solutions.

Americans simply want steps taken to help fix the problems we have in our country. This Congress has yet to make any significant strides towards improving America's current state of affairs.  Why is nothing getting done?  Maybe it is because of the amount of partisanship in Congress? It seems at times that the Republicans and Democrats in Congress refuse to work together on issues that need to be addressed and solved.

At some point, members of Congress should put aside their partisan beliefs and do what needs to be done.  Members of Congress need to stop trying to filibuster legislation, get things done, and solve our country’s problems.  Do away with all of the partisan nonsense for a while. and pass useful legislation that will help our country’s economy out of the hole that it is currently in.  If this is done, who knows--maybe Congress’ approval ratings will go up.  

It seems like common sense, but when things get done, problems get solved, and crises get managed, the ones who did the work are often viewed in a much better light.  Who cares if you stray away from your party lines a little if the economy is fixed, or jobs are created?  Congress members need to realize that solving our countries problems should be priority number one, not rejecting proposed ideas from the other side simply because they do not align with their party’s views.

The purpose of a two party political system is to ensure that one political ideology does not dominate the political system of our country.  The two parties are meant to provide checks and balances on each other, but those checks and balances should eventually lead to something.  Instead what we have is a situation where the two parties are not working together toward a common goal.

If ever there a third party were to emerge as a serious political party, now would be the time. And one is: the Tea Party movement is gaining momentum and voter support in many parts of the country.  Candidates backed by the Tea Party have won primary elections in some states.  If the Tea Party does in fact become a formidable rival to the Republican and Democratic parties, will it help our current situation?  We’ll have to wait and see.

The amount of partisan politics in our government today is perhaps the main reason why the approval ratings of Congress and the two political parties are so low.  Is it too much to ask for a little teamwork in order to get the job done?  I think not.  So until the elected members of Congress start working together and make an attempt to solve so of the problems we are faced with as a nation, the approval ratings will remain low and Americans will continue to have no faith in the officials they elect.


Reach columnist Christopher Steele here

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