Worldwide, people's voices need to be heard

The ‘Jasmine Revolution’ in Tunisia, the riots in Egypt and other protests throughout North Africa and the Middle East serve as a reminder that repressive governments and their business cronies can only be tolerated for so long. When people do not have an outlet for their rage, this is what will happen.

The civil unrest reached critical mass only when the silent majority could no longer tolerate low pay, unemployment, corruption and a general lack of development in all spheres of the economy and education.

In a speech a few weeks ago, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told an audience in Qatar, “People have grown tired of corrupt institutions and a stagnant political order.” She was referring to the Middle Eastern dictatorships, but she could very well be talking about our own country. We have many comparable, but arguably less intense troubles, in the U.S.

Many elected officials believe that whoever receives the most votes in any election has won the “will of the people.” Whose “will of the people” are these politicians talking about?

On average, less than half of America’s voting population exercise its right to vote. The typical winner takes home only slightly more than half of the vote. This means that the winner of the elected office only has support from maybe a third of the voters.

The other two-thirds of the citizenry are voiceless because their candidate lost or they opted out of voting for one reason or another. Most elected officials from both parties lack this perspective.

It is understood that the elected official speaks for a small percentage of the most vocal part of the population. Who speaks for those that lost or didn’t vote? Should our leaders ignore the will of the rest of people?

Since the mid-1990s, our political pendulum has swung back and forth between political extremes, and people running from one side of the room to the other in desperation.

Both political parties make promises only to fail repeatedly because of the bureaucratic malaise in Washington. Politicians are just not willing to achieve decisions on problems that will simply get worse the longer we put them off.

If any government does not listen to their public, which feels powerless, then they will look at other means to voice their concerns. The power of social websites, Twitter, cell phones, etc. can give the populace the outlet they require.

Information on these networks spread like a virus. It created a groundswell of support everywhere at once, just like what happened in Tunisia and Egypt. That is what makes mob rule so terrifying – the lack of leadership. Without a leader or some other political faction instigating the civil unrest, the government can’t destroy it and nobody can control it. This is true “people power.”

Our country is broken. If we do nothing about these problems, then we all deserve the type of leaders that are put into power. We deserve them because we allowed them to destroy our way of life.

Many people take a jaundiced eye towards politics and think their vote doesn’t mean much. I guess things will have to get much worse for much longer in this country before we all get furious. We are not close to a boiling point, but things are beginning to simmer.