I live in Oregon and read some of the local press and blogs related to politics both here and elsewhere from the local perspective.  One of the blogs I read is BlueOregon, a “progressive” blog.  It is moderated very loosely and as a result gets comments from a wide variety of viewpoints, though the majority are “progressive.”  

A recent discussion was held (and continues) on BlueOregon about the speed/haste with which the Stimulus Bill was crafted.  I have written on this blog more than once about my dislike for the haste.  Many will argue that the speed was required and admire it.

I contend that Senators Snowe, Collins, and Specter all voted with the Democrats for strictly political reasons, not because their vote served their constituents.  I would also argue that it was politics that caused all the Republicans in the House to vote against the Bill as a “team.”.  I think the Democrats in Congress wanted it passed before Members had a chance to read and consider the bill properly because it served their overarching political purposes.

The original post on BlueOregon was a guest post and open letter from Congressmean Peter DeFazio (southwestern Oregon – main population in the Eugene area).  Mr. DeFazio wrote the letter to explain his “reluctant yes vote.”  His reluctant vote was due largely to the fact that he felt not enough was being done.  I would disagree with that reason, instead arguing that the right things are not done by the bill.  The thread of comments to the post, however, give great input to things the bill should and should not have done.  It was a lively debate.  Reading all of it gives you the feeling that Members of Congress, in the rush to pass this legislation, missed an opportunity to hear what their constituents had to say.  They missed a chance to represent the people of their districts/states.

To me this is what is meant by “Taxation without Representation.”  I am convinced that if Congress had been able to talk with and listen to their constituents prior to finalizing and voting on this bill, it would have come out much different.  Instead, politics ruled the day and we got poorly considered “solutions” that I fear will be worse than the problem in the long run.

I don’t like all the blaming of this on the Democrats or on the Republicans.  I don’t like the finger pointing and name calling.  It’s the NeoCons or it’s the Liberals.  It’s the Looney Left or the Religous Right.  The blame, in my opinion, lies squarely in Washington, D.C. where the insular state of Members of Congress makes for a disconnect with the people.  It is, however, the people’s fault, yours and mine, that we don’t correct the situation.  

What will it take to restore civil debate?   What will it take to create true consensus decision making?  What will it take for our “Representatives” to take action for the good of the people, not just the political good of the Members of Congress and their minions and makers?