Who represents the people?

My friend Heather posted an interesting piece on The Historical Society’s blog, titled “What a Shutdown Means for America’s Government.” Personally, I haven’t been following politics lately. Doesn’t seem to me like anything is happening at the moment, beside the same-old, same-old. I could be wrong about that, though. Heather just posted a piece on Huffington’s Politics blog, too. About how the current Republican “Path to Prosperity” resembles the GIlded Age policies of the ridiculously corrupt (Benjamin) Harrison administration.

It’s interesting that in these two pieces, Heather describes bad politics of the past
from both sides of the aisle that look and feel a lot like bad politics of the present. On the THS site, it’s bad Democrats holding the federal budget captive and playing shutdown brinksmanship. In the Huffington post, it’s Republicans insisting that the only way out of our economic doldrums is to give even more to the wealthiest Americans. Makes me wonder, who, if anyone, was looking out for and representing regular people?

This is an obvious, sort of “duh” idea, if you’re a cynic. But look how much political capital is invested by both sides, trying to convince regular people that either the Repubs or the Dems are their real, natural allies. If history shows that in different times and places, both parties abandoned and betrayed regular people, then maybe that leads to a different conversation about how we move forward. And what if history shows that both parties, from time to time, actually did something good for regular people? On purpose! Then is it really all about individuals and unique situations, and not so much about party names and organizations? What would a political history looked like, that threaded its way through the American past, calling out heroes and villains regardless of what badge they wore?