Why the shortage of progressives with guts in our congress today?
There is no doubt that there are plenty of principled, courageous Americans. Edward Snowden is an obvious example. Why aren't any of them in congress?
One explanation is that relatively few Americans would vote for such people. Why not? Perhaps the problem is that the general public is seldom exposed to clear explanations of the kinds of ideas that would be championed by modern versions of Fighting Bob. They certainly don't hear many such explanations from those currently in government. So, in a sense, we have a positive feedback situation; with few, if any, Fighting Bobs in office to educate and inspire voters, it is hard to promulgate the ideas that would motivate people to elect such fighters.
Reinforcing this effect is the fact that the mass media, the source of information and political ideas for most people, are almost totally dominated by the hirelings of the wealthy elite. To some extent this has always been the case, but it has become even more of a factor as the media have become concentrated in fewer and fewer hands.
One possible ray of hope is the internet, which offers an alternative channel to promulgate fresh ideas. This channel may become more effective as more and more people begin to utilize it. One would expect that it would have a big influence on young people, who are accustomed to using it as a source of ideas and data. Unfortunately, I've seen no signs that significant numbers of young people are riled up enough to take action to turn things around.
What lies ahead?