Democracy is an exercise in confidence. Voters participate in the democratic process confident that their voice will be heard and that their views will be represented by their elected representatives.
Sadly, these days, more and more voters look at the political process and see less a process that they have confidence in and more of a confidence game that they want no part of.
This loss of confidence is not solely an American problem. Look at Spain, France, Australia and many other nations and you see large groups of protesters marching against vaccine passports, mask mandates and autocratic lockdowns. These are not people who feel that their voices are being heard by the elites who are running their nations.
There are plenty of reasons why so many people have lost confidence in the ruling class and the elites who chiefly fund them. First, political leaders don’t follow the rules they impose on others. From House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiDemocrats scramble to reach deal on taxes On The Money — Sussing out what Sinema wants Overnight Health Care — Presented by Carequest — Key CDC panel backs Moderna, J&J boosters MORE’s (D-Calif.) hairdresser to Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bower’s attendance at a maskless wedding, from Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s (D) maskless beach visit to San Francisco Mayor London Breed’s partying ways in the basement of a dance club, from California Gov. Gavin NewsomGavin NewsomCalifornia regulator proposes ban on oil drilling near schools, hospitals, homes Biden says he would tap National Guard to help with supply chain issues Equilibrium/Sustainability — Presented by Southern Company — Nations plan to pump oil despite net zero promises MORE’s (D) expensive dinner at the French Laundry to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezSchumer endorses democratic socialist India Walton in Buffalo mayor's race Toomey takes aim at Schumer's spending windfall for NYC public housing The Memo: Cuts to big bill vex Democrats MORE’s (D-N.Y.) visit to the Met Gala, the political class has scoffed at the dumb requirements that they put on everybody else.
Back in 1994, House Republicans made it a requirement as a plank in their Contract with America that Congress would have to follow whatever laws that they imposed on the rest of the world. In 2021, the Biden administration has given a broad exemption to Congress on the unconstitutional vaccine mandate that they now require for all business owners with more than 100 employees.
The general insouciance the ruling class has for the rules it passes on to others is consistent with a general contempt it has for the bulk of Americans who can’t or won’t fund their political campaigns. If the little people won’t support me, the feeling goes, then they are deserving of the disregard with which I must treat them. They are the despicable ones, especially those who are unvaccinated. They should be blamed for a virus that potentially started in a Chinese lab. They are scapegoated by the president, put in a separate class, excoriated on social media, not allowed access into the nicest places, put on a list and hounded incessantly. They are called dumb, even though a large number of the vaccine hesitant have PhDs, and racist, even though a very large parentage of them are people of color.
The government’s response to the COVID-19 virus hasn’t exactly inspired confidence. Instead, it has sparked concerns that this is one big confidence game, a con job, a conspiracy. I myself never ascribe to conspiracy that which could more easily be categorized as incompetence, but sometimes I wonder.
Why do social media companies play an active role in squashing scientific dissent from the prevailing orthodoxy coming from government bureaucrats. This is a “novel” coronavirus. Shouldn’t an active debate be encouraged, not discouraged? Why are possible treatments that are used effectively in other parts of the world — ivermectin, for example — roundly disparaged as horse dewormer here in the States? Why isn’t there a more robust debate about the actual efficacy of masks, and why are people who have honest concerns about vaccines — Alex Berenson is a good example — permanently banned from Twitter, seemingly at the request of the White House?
You don’t inspire confidence by avoiding actual debate. You don’t bring people together by belittling and berating those who have honest disagreements. You don’t follow the science by stopping all scientific inquiry. And you don’t generate confidence in our political system by making everything seem like one big confidence game.
Feehery is a partner at EFB Advocacy and blogs at www.thefeeherytheory.com. He served as spokesman to former Speaker Dennis HastertJohn (Dennis) Dennis HastertFeehery: Trumpus Rex Bottom line Feehery: Build back bipartisan MORE (R-Ill.), as communications director to former Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas) when he was majority whip and as a speechwriter to former House Minority Leader Bob Michel (R-Ill.).