Editorial: Our country would be better served by total recall
Is it too easy to recall politicians? That argument’s been made in Wisconsin, especially following the spate of recall elections in 2011 and 2012 after controversial legislation curbed the union rights of most, but not all, public employees, including teachers.
A more relevant, broader question today should be: Isn’t it time to make it easier to recall politicians — an entire group of them — especially if they happen to be members of the U.S. Congress?
A new CNN poll showed a 10% Congressional approval rating – an all-time polling low for Congress. Imagine that. You can’t sink much lower. Consider that it’s nearly impossible to get 90% of Americans to agree on anything – even to agree on a basic fact like the earth is round.
In recent years, Congressional approval ratings have hovered in the teens, sometimes nudging as high as 20%. Continuing public disapproval reflects a failed institution in our storied democratic system — even before the federal budget and debt ceiling impasse that’s resulted in layoffs of hundreds of thousands of federal workers at national parks and monuments, along with those who monitor diseases (and the current flu program) at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and food safety inspections at the Food and Drug Administration, to name a few.
There’s no other way to describe Congressional political posturing other than this: Dereliction of duty. It’s unpatriotic, treasonous.
Our senators and representatives – maybe not all but a hell-bent minority — are selfish, rigid-thinking men and women trapped by extremist ideologies who never learned what the rest of us did as school children – the need to work things out, to seek and find common ground, to compromise, and to appreciate teamwork and collaborating to achieve a greater good for the group.
Polls also show, unfortunately, that constituents often have a higher opinion of their own senators and representatives that they do of Congress as a whole. But the problem, clearly, is group failure. There are few individuals in that elected body who rise above the fray to act as mediators.
We know this scenario isn’t possible at the moment, not even legal. But what is needed in Washington is nothing short of a massive Congressional recall – one that would put the scattered Wisconsin legislative recalls to shame. In fact, our failed Congress deserves a more final, theatrical verdict – You’re fired!