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The Problem:
90% of voting age Americans do not vote in bi-annual congressional primaries, and at least 90% do not know the name of the U.S. House rep. from their own local district. The United States is supposed to be a Constitutional Representative Republic, however widespread lack of participation has created a viscous cycle of dysfunctional government leading to further rejection of government by the people. This is only made worse by those in the media who refuse to treat this as a serious crisis, instead referring to all people as "voters", even in districts were only 10-20% of the people actually vote for their representatives.
The United States ranks last among industrialized nations in terms of participation by the people. Voter turnout in midterm general elections averages less than 38%. Voter turnout for Presidential elections ranges between 50 and 60%, but the President is given very little power according to the Constitution. So, despite years of work by voter advocates such as Rock the Vote, U.S. citizens vote the least in the most important elections and vote more in the less important ones. The TV and newspapers make the Presidential elections into media events that perpetuate a false left/right paradigm and further distract us from self-governing.
The Concept of Self Governing - All Politics is Local:
Freedom comes with responsibility, and only the people can be responsible for fixing things in their own government. Refusing to get organized or work with-in the system, because of the belief that the system is hopelessly rigged and broken, becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy and only leads to further control by powerful limited interests.
In Washington, the U.S. House is the most important governing body, because the people are supposed to directly elect their 437 representatives every two years (the Constitution does not ask people to directly elect the President). In addition to legislative powers, the U.S. House has control over the money in the Treasury, they have the final approval of all Executive branch appointments, and they have the sole power to impeach the President.
State and local governments are also very important. The governor or legislature of a state has much more impact on one's life than the U.S. President. As an example of the backwards nature of American politics, over 60% of Virginians voted in the 2008 Presidential election, but turnout in Virginia dropped to less than 40% in the last state election.
The Solution:
The solution is very simple: We must start to acknowledge the correlation between widespread lack of participation by the people and the rise of dysfunctional partisan government that is not working for the people.
Start by getting informed. Find out who your current U.S. House rep. is. Go to your local election web site and also look up your governor, your state rep. and your mayor. Find out who is running against them in the next election. Get organized and join campaigns where people going door to door can defeat the big money candidates who waste hundreds of thousands of dollars on useless mailers that end up in a landfill.

Vote! Get right up in their business.

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