In the United States today, politics are a very misunderstood topic. When one thinks that they have an opinion over governmental decisions, however they have no idea who there Senators or Congressmen are there is a serious descrepiency in what is percieved to be happening, and what in fact actually occurs. The Orlando Sentinel columnist Charley Reese states, ĎPolitics in America are controlled by special interest groups. From one election day to the next, the public has zip influence over policy making, it is controlled by special interest groups.í This statement is partially true. It is true that special interest groups control politics on a normal day in America. There is a fallacy in the statement made by Reese however, because if an issue is a very fiery, hot topic in the minds of America, the sleeping dog wakes up and forces Congress to vote in accordance to popular opinion.
Public Opinion can best be viewed through the model of a sleeping dog. As long as the intruding party (Congress, in this case) does nothing too extreme, the dog stays sleeping and all is well. If the intruder tries to do acts that are extremely drastic however, the dog is suddenly woke up and stops Congress from taking the course of action it wishes to take. On a normal day, most do not care about politics, and are uninformed. The opportunity cost is simply too great for most to seek out all of the information necessary to be informed on many issues. Issues that have little impact, or issues that indirectly affect the public in major ways do not set off any outcry in public opinion. The only issues that generally set off public opinion are proximity issues, taxes, and issues that the public holds strong opinions about.
Special Interest Groups never sleep, and leave policy makers unwatched. The goal of a special interest group of any type is to further their cause. The way they accomplish this is through always paying attention to policy making, and by giving campaign contributions. Campaign contributions function to make the point of the interest group very clear to the policy maker. It is an intriguing day when in a democratic republic the officials can simply be purchased and not truly elected by the voters. Maybe when this occurs it is in fact time to examine the political process of the nation.
Special interest groups win 99% of the time. The reason for this because the issues deal with nothing that wakes the dog up. Proximity issues, and taxation are fairly rare so public opinion is for the most part, oblivious to political happenings. The only time the public wins is on issues that are especially sensitive. Because of all of these facts, the statement made by Charley Reese, is partially true, because on a normal day, the Special Interest Group gets there way. There are however special case scenarios that allow the public opinion to overrule the special interest groups. This is how the politics in our great United States are conducted. Isnít the system wonderful?