For the past few months the world has been watching the pettiness of the debt ceiling discussions in Washington in sheer disbelief. This pathetic political spectacle, this unthinkable stalemate, makes the US look like a banana republic run by self-indulgent idiots. This episode reminds me of the movie “Idiocracy”, a sci-fi comedy about a dumbed-down society in the future. Well, that future could be now.
Both parties claim to represent the American people‘s views and aspirations even though their positions are diametrically opposed. All we hear is “the American people want this,” “the American people want that,” “the American people are tired of this,” “the American people are tired of that.”
If all of those opposing statements were indeed representative of the American people’s views, you’d think Americans were bipolar! The “real” American people have got to rise against this nonsense and let Congress know where they stand on the issues.
The truth is that most members of Congress are totally oblivious to what the “American people” want. Tea Party Republicans, who are responsible for this stalemate, are driven by petty ideology and, dare I say, racism. They simply will not accept anything that Barack Obama proposes. Worst of all, in their ignorance and arrogance, Tea-Partiers are willing to bring the American (and perhaps global) economy down, just to make the guy in the White House look bad. And they will shamelessly blame it all on him for supposedly messing up the economy in the first place.
It’s time Americans pay less attention to what’s happening with Snooky and Lindsay Lohan, or DSK and the hotel maid, and focus on the mess Congress is about to make in Washington. Those who are paying attention are very frustrated. They are the real “American people” and they are not worried about the debt ceiling and spending cuts. They are worried about a 9% unemployment rate; they want jobs, they want to be able to send their kids to college and buy a house. That’s what will be on their minds when they cast their votes in 2012.
For quite some time I have been thinking that it’s time for Americans to have their “I’m mad as hell” moment (as in the scene from the 1976 movie “Network”) and voice their frustration with Washington. This should not be left to pundits or late night comedians alone–nobody takes them seriously anyway. The people have to do it. Unless, of course, Joseph de Maistre‘s aphorism “every nation has the government it deserves” is true. I really hope that’s not the case.
A small revolt seems to have started on Twitter. Last Saturday, social media pundit Jeff Jarvis vented his frustration on Twitter and called on others to follow. His first tweet said: “Hey, Washington a**holes, it’s our country, our economy, our money. Stop f***ing with it.” His second tweet said: “People, it’s time to get f***ing pissed off.” And a third tweet said: “Can we start a Twitter chant: F*** YOU, WASHINGTON! Pass it on.” His pleas were finally heard and the hashtag #f***youwashington has generated tens of thousands of tweets this week.
Will this Twitter chant do more than just bring celebrity to Jeff Jarvis? I hope so. I’m not a Twitter fan but I believe it can be a good vehicle for people to tell politicians in Washington that they must put their interests aside and end this impasse. Most importantly, it could remind politicians that they work for the people who elected them and if they don’t do what the people want, they might as well not be there. Jon Stewart put it best in his message to Congress: “Do you want out of this relationship so bad that you’ve all decided to act like such giant a-holes that you force us to break up with you? If so, get the F-out.”
So, “American people”, please stop watching TV and make yourselves heard!