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Getting in the Game, When Representative Government No Longer Works

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Every special interest is in the game. Boeing and Microsoft, Wall Street and the pharmaceutical industry, everything from agriculture to zen has its lobby in the halls of the Congress of the United States. On a moment's notice, the gun lobby or casino of your choice can marshal a quorum of lawmakers to get stuff done.

Your and my access to those who hold the keys to our life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is limited--confined to a single Representative and a couple of Senators. They are busy with matters other than our personal needs. They have needs of their own and raising the dough to get re-elected is at the top of the list.

It seems that Google has noticed and gotten into the lobbying game on its own behalf. But then, Google is big and we are small. Google has focused needs and ours are varied.

Google can answer our search for 'government' with 451 million related sites, but it has yet to find us a solution to Aunt Margaret's impending deportation or a way to get a meaningful hearing from anyone even remotely connected to our fear of growing old without resources.

It's not their job.

But there's an idea for you. Google Resource (probably already under trademark); a finding and putting-together site for actual citizens who share searchable needs, perhaps (but not even remotely limited to);

· Immigration questions and problems

· Educational alternatives for your inner-city resident daughter

· Help for a son suffering in prison

· Matching a job with an employer

· Starting a bootstrap business

There are all kinds of lists and addresses and obscure sources among those 451 million sites, but no way to find someone to talk to who shares your ethnicity, your economic circumstance or education. And yet government thinks it's doing a decent job. Your government, where you are represented by elected officials who reside in the top 8% of the economic scale, have devised a course of obstacles standing between your need and the relief of your need.

And they did it with the best of intention, but the worst of attention.

Washington does the best it knows how to do. But the best it knows how to do is affected by interests that may be opposed to the welfare of the under-represented-you and me.

When I say welfare, I mean it in the sense of a contented state of being happy, healthy and prosperous rather than the ubiquitous definition of Government providing economic assistance to persons in need.

Yeah, that's important too, but the broader need is for pathways to prosperity.

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Jim Freeman's op-ed pieces and commentaries have appeared in The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, International Herald-Tribune, CNN, The New York Review, The Jon Stewart Daily Show and a number of magazines. His thirteen published books are (more...)
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