Friday, March 16, 2007

Why Do We Need A Government?

I always love a good debate. I enjoy arguing. So it's probably not surprising that I've become relatively interested in politics in the past few years.

It is a rare occasion when I get upset over a politician's opinion, since I like to think that I have a fairly well-balanced point of view regarding Democratic, Republican, and Independent perspectives on how the nation should operate. However, one such occasion happened recently, and I just can't seem to understand the reasoning of this congressman.

Here is the argument in a nutshell:
We should immediately start the process of taking American soldiers out of Iraq because the American people elected more Democrats into the House of Representatives. Because the American people clearly want a change to happen in regards to the situation in Iraq, it's time for President Bush to start withdrawing the troops and begin to give the Iraqis complete power of their own country.
2006 General Election results: Total of 233 Democrats (gain of 31), a total of 202 Republicans (loss of 30), and zero Independents (loss of 1) in the House of Representatives.

This drives me crazy because the logic seems flawed. Why do congressmen need the help of the citizens to decide what to do about Iraq?

Now, before I wrote this post, I had forgotten a lot of details about how the government works. So I looked up the basics at Ben's Guide to U.S. Government for Kids. Yes, I realize that I'm an adult (most of the time), but it helps me to understand complex topics in their most basic form. It's actually a very interesting and helpful website. Anyway, here is a snippet of what the site has to say to kids:

Why do we need a government? Imagine what your school would be like if no one was in charge. Each class would make its own rules. Who gets to use the gym if two classes want to use it at the same time? Who would clean the classrooms? Who decides if you learn about Mars or play kickball? Sounds confusing, right? This is why schools have people who are in charge, such as the principal, administrators, teachers, and staff. Our nation has people who are in charge and they make up the government.

This analogy is so helpful because it makes perfect sense why kids don't run the school. Kids aren't the ones who are in charge because there would be chaos. It's the same thing with our government. The citizens don't run the country because there would be chaos. That's why we elect people to run the country for us.

Our duty as citizens is to elect the politicians that will best represent us. Our duty is NOT to know which is the best decision to make in regards to issues such as Iraq. We just don't have all the facts.

Image from Ben's Guide to U.S. Government for Kids (click to enlarge)

It is true that the congressmen who argue that, "the people have spoken" by electing more Democrats into Congress, do have a point. However, they are falling back on the opinions of the American citizens who don't have adequate knowledge of the issues. I believe that the average citizen's mind is so warped by the media that they create an opinion based on biased news reports instead of quality primary sources. I fully admit that I don't know what's going on over in Iraq because 1) I have never been there myself, and 2) I have never met with a bunch of people who actually have experienced life over there. So how can I expect to have a well-balanced opinion of what should be done?


The branches of the U.S. government must see their role in the country just as the principal, administrators, teachers, and staff see their roles inside of a school. Those responsible for the school don't ask the students what they should do because the kids don't know what is best for them. Likewise, those responsible for the country must not look at polls or popular opinion of the clueless citizens. They should cooperate with each other and settle on something that will be best for the country as a whole.

I must say that I'm very glad that we as U.S. citizens don't have too much control over the government. If the entire country met in one big gymnasium and tried to come to agreement over the country's issues, nothing would ever be settled. That's why the structure we have is so beneficial to us. The beauty of this country is that we do have some voice as individuals, but not too much. I guess that's why I enjoy listening to the politicians bicker at each other... because that's their job, and I don't have to worry about it.