Earlier this week, during a speech at Tuft’s University, recently-demoted-to-House-Minority-Leader Nancy Pelosi said that “elections shouldn’t matter as much as they do”.

She is right – but not exactly the way she meant it. She was, I guess, trying to make a point about the common values that both major political parties share. Presumably, both parties want what is best for the country and, in her mind apparently, everybody should agree on what she thinks is the right thing to do for our country. Therefore, through her logic, it shouldn’t matter who gets elected because they should all do what she thinks is the right thing to do.

Firstly, I always find it interesting when politicians in the majority party of the moment refuse to even meet with the minority party to discuss anything. “We won, you lost – get over it!” But then when that majority/minority role becomes reversed in the next election, these same people proclaim how important it is for both sides to “work together”. “Hey ol’ buddy – why not listen to some of my great ideas?”

The larger issue though is that – historically and factually – federal elections should not matter that much at all. If one were to look at the Constitution and see exactly what the Federal government is permitted to do, you will find that there is not much that should effect the day to day lives of the American citizen and the allocation of their “stuff”. There is nothing in there about creating jobs, providing a “stimulus”, educating our children, housing of poor people, paying people not to work, making sure that everybody can buy a house, providing health care or any number of illegal Big Government rules and regulations.

Looking through a listing of Big Federal commissions, bureaus, offices, administrations, departments, agencies, committees and whatever other name one can concoct, is a journey into the world of made-up entities whose existence is at best, only tenuously tied to what is allowed in the Constitution. The argument that some of these agencies and the services they provide are a “good idea” or “important” is immaterial in regards to their being legally allowed by the Constitution.

Elections today have become a contest to pick the one who will get you the most stuff. Even campaign speeches have devolved to the point where the candidate does not even try to hide this or bury this in rhetoric.

“If you vote for me, you will get stuff – if you vote for my opponent, you will lose stuff.”
“If my opponent gets into office, old people will die.”
“Vote for me and I’ll get someone else to pay for your health care – or your house – or your cell phone – or your internet access – or your….”

What used to be implied is now said directly. “If Big Government does not provide a particular service, there is no way that it can be done. People will suffer or die because only Big Government is smart enough to solve any perceived problem in society.”

So we know that elections today have become merely choosing who is going to get you the biggest tax break by forcing someone else – a “greedy” person; or at least some faceless “they” – to pay more. Ask almost anyone about who they will vote for in the next election – and why. Let’s see if the discussion turns to which candidate is going to promise the most “stuff”. “What is this candidate going to do for ME?”

My question is how did it come to pass that elections to federal office have devolved into a discussion of how much of my stuff I get to keep and how much of my stuff someone else gets to take? How did we allow Big Government to attain that sort of power? Was this not exactly what the United States Constitution was written to prevent?