Are We Our Government?

By D.A. Forbes

 

The United States elected an African American President eight years ago and increased diversity in Congressional representation over the last few decades.

Is this cause for celebration?

Hardly. 

It was reported as a major achievement when, for the first time in history, more than 100 women served on Capitol Hill.  Pew Research deemed that very same 114th Congress the most diverse in history.  But a closer look at the numbers reveals that the U.S. government remains a kingdom for Caucasians with penises (sans the "balls").

Females represent 51 percent of the U.S. population and 19.4 percent of Congress. 75 percent are Democrats.

African Americans represent 14 percent of the U.S. population and 8 percent of Congress.  All but one are Democrats.

Latinos represent 17 percent of the U.S. population and 6 percent of Congress. 75 percent are Democrats.

Asians represent 5.6 percent of the U.S. population and 2 percent of Congress.  All are Democrats.

Democrats represent over 90 percent of the ethnically diverse population in Congress but now have the lowest Democratic control in states since the Civil War and the fewest number of Governors since The Great Depression.

White men – who comprised 34 percent of voters in the last election – occupy 67 percent of Congress.

White people – who comprise 63 percent of the U.S. population – represent 83 percent of Congress.

The LGBT population represents 4 percent of the U.S. population and 1% of Congress. All are Democrats.

The religiously unaffiliated population represents 22 percent of the U.S. population and 0% of Congress.

Average net worth of members of Congress = $1,008,767 – up 4.4 percent.

17 percent of the current Congress served in the military compared to 64% of the 97th Congress (30 years ago).  U.S. military spending during such time has increased to 40 percent of all military spending on the planet.

We slaughtered the American Indians, pillaged a majority of land from Mexicans, stole, enslaved and butchered Africans and suppressed the rights of women until the 20s and minorities until the 60s (though one might argue that transition is far from over.)  All of this was our legacy in establishing the United States of America, land of the free and home of the brave straight, white, rich male. 

The wealthy, white male is the only group of Americans hungrily represented by the U.S. government since the inception of our nation.  It is clear that we are a nation that cares more about posting vague representations of our lives to Facebook than we do about lifting up an electorate that will constitute and execute the needs of our citizenry. 

13 percent of voters under 30 turned out for November 2014 midterm elections.  Overall, 42 percent of U.S. voters turned out, period – the lowest rate in history.  More than 40 percent of nonvoters in the 2014 elections identified as Hispanic, black or other racial/ethnic minorities.  Is it no surprise why such citizens are not represented in the system or otherwise dislocated from it?  They understand how the system is built to engage them only at arm’s length.

Thus far this primary season, Republican voter turnout has been record-shattering.  Voter turnout for Democrats has been anemic.  Should we read these tea leaves as yet another Presidential flip-flop and get ready to spread red bed sheets at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue?  After all, this is the most Republican Congress since 1929.  Add a conservative President, VP, cabinet and Supreme Court Justice and perhaps the entire kit n’ caboodle should require a proper overhaul of our flag in order to reflect the true colors of the nation…

Red and white and green.

Obama was both ignorant and damn near offensive when he proclaimed that America is not red states and blue states but united states.  At this moment, the rich keep winning.  And they win big.  Why should we ever expect this to change?

America has the means to end poverty, end hunger, end wage inequality, provide affordable, exceptional education, provide affordable healthcare and housing, give women equal pay, give women, minorities and the LGBT community equal opportunities and rights, end interminable military spending and empire-building, rehab a failing infrastructure, exchange imports for exports… and yet we elect and appoint and revere rich, white males who choose, over and over and over again, to sustain the status quo so they can maintain a massive fleet of yachts to water-ski behind.

Does our government represent us?  No.  Do we care?  Not so much.  Can we expect and accept that things will only get worse... and worse... and worse?  Based on our apathy…

Yes… We… Can.

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