To begin, I will refer you to previous comments that I have made elsewhere on this matter. They are intended to illustrate my view of the current mind set of the Democratic party and the “mandate” that they have received to end the war in Iraq.
“When Republicans won the last however many elections, they were cheating or stealing, but now that the Democrats won, it’s a clear message from the American People about changing direction… give me a break! America is as divided as ever, perhaps even more so… but keep an eye on how the TV news and newspapers cover the congress now that the liberals are in charge.”
Today, the use of polls to show a general distaste for the current armed conflict is on the rise. Now, people with the agenda of stopping the war use polls as a justification for their crusade. This is not how our governments is set up. Our government is a representative democracy. The old line that the citizens in this country are the “real” leaders and have the power is an over simplification. The only power that the American people have is the power to adjust those who represent them in elections that are held yearly. The general public has no say in the policies of the country, and for good reason. They don’t have all the facts and therefore are incapable of making sound decisions that affect current crises. But polls are being used to try and do that very thing.
Imagine how this country would run if every one of us had to vote on EVERY issue that came before the nation. We elect people to make those decisions for us because we have JOBS and FAMILIES and LIVES. Now, those public officials pay heed to polls (often conducted by liberal media outlets like the NYT and CNN/USA Today) that tell them that the war is unpopular… great! War should be unpopular! Other than some crazy cult mercenary that lives in the back woods of West Virgina, everybody should be saddened by the state of the world. However, actively trying to end something that we are ill informed about is not only irresponsible, but dangerous.
Let’s think back to everyone’s favorite war, Vietnam. Some said that the war was doomed and they tried their best to end it. A bat-shit crazy Jane Fonda had lunch with the Viet-cong to show her distaste for the war. Others, like myself, believed that if we had gone in there with the intention of winning the war instead of trying to not upset the American public, we would have had a fairly quick victory. We were too concerned that public opinion would turn against the war that we forgot to actually fight the war to win. Now, back to the present conflict. So far, we’ve had Sean Penn visit Baghdad and say that everything was fine before the Americans came and Michael Moore was, well, Michael Moore. We only sent in enough troops so as to not shock the anti-war left… just like Vietnam. Now we have to escalate the war to try and win it (even though the number of troops now (147,000) is still less than the number at the war’s outset (315,000)… some escalation)
This brings me back to the polls. Where and how they sample, the wording of questions, the reluctance of certain groups of people to give opinions (a busy, rich Republican might not take the time to answer questions while a liberal, politically active college student would) leave these polls in question. Is 1000 people really representative of the overall nation? Does any of this really matter, or should it matter? When we re-elected President Bush for the second time, the Republications viewed it as a mandate… they were mistaken. Now that the Democrats took over congress, they view it as a mandate… they are also mistaken. The American public, the wishy-washy general population, changes its mind at the drop of a hat and doesn’t always know what is best for itself. Think about what the polls would have been like when Republican President Abraham Lincoln declared the slaves were free… I rest my case.