Consent of the Governed

An Oppressed Majority

A recent study found here by University of Michigan graduate students revealed a major disconnect between people in Congress and people on Main Street. The study examined the level our representatives correctly view their constituents political and social desires. For example when the representatives were asked how many of their constituents favored abolishing welfare, both Democrats and Republicans estimated such desire high in their constituents, especially when compared to the real level the public has for such discourse when polled.

Republicans in almost all social and economic policies believed their constituents to be way more conservative than they actually are. In the example above, only 13% of the representative's constituents on average wanted to abolish welfare, the Republicans believed it to be around 50% and Democrats around 35%. Topic after topic, policy after policy, this conservative bias was shown on both sides of the aisle.

Which means the majority for the most part is being oppressed by the minority, and has been for hundreds of years. I doubt this trend of the opulent oppressing the majority is new, I'm sure most people elected into public office eventually get swayed by the exclusive company they keep, and self-serve one another not our entire country.

Let us remember our current Congress is our most diverse Congress ever, and it is still only composed of 93 women out a possible 538 members, and only has 4 minority Senators, and zero African-American Senators out of 100 total seats. When compared to our general population, the demographics show we still need a lot more diversity in Congress to represent the entire electorate equally.

If we look at the financial comparisons, it isn't even close, as the average wealth of a Congress member is between $7-$10 million dollars, leaving a giant void of representation for the middle class and working poor, which comprises the majority of our electorate and populous.

Combine the above demographics with a conservative bias towards policies the public does not want, and you have a minority oppressing the majority, the exact opposite trend you would expect from a Democratic Republic that was created to respect the consent of the governed.

Consent of the governed, according to Thomas Jefferson, is the majority, and that his idea of a republic was majority rule expressed in this statement by him: "Were I to assign to this term a precise and definite idea (republic), I would say purely and simply it means a government by its citizens in mass, acting directly and personally according to rules established by the majority; and that every other government is more or less republican in proportion as it has in its composition more or less of this ingredient of direct action of the citizens."

We can argue until we are blue in the face whether our Constitution was a manifesto of collective individualism or a collective declaration of oligarchy rule; I believe it is both. Either way, when a minority believes and governs on biases not consistent with the consent of the governed, you have oppression, something undeniably occurring across all of our nation.

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Updated Apr 21, 2018 12:52 AM UTC | More details


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