Kilgore might be right. After decades of watching the political process in action I'd say that over time it's become considerably worse; or perhaps, that the people who supposedly represent us are less interested in appearing to care than they once were.
Trying to enact effective laws to correct course is an impossible task, as others have pointed out. Campaign finance reform? From a corrupt congress? I don't think so. Term limits? From the guys who spend their whole lives trying to stay in office as long as possible? Fat chance. Doing away with the electoral college so that a vote from Rhode Island counts as much as a vote from California? Not on your life!
The system that we have seems to be failing in major ways, unable to adapt to a changing world; and like any organization that finds itself incapable of adapting and under increasingly vocal critical scrutiny it lashes out with action intended to silence the critics and establish effective control over those that might upset the apple cart.
Call me a pessimist, but I no longer believe that it's possible to repair my government through established means - including electing the right officials (my choices in the last presidential election: Gore and Bush. Aside from the last name, what exactly were the major differences between the two? And everyone else, including Nader, was completely sidelined). When your choices for candidates all come from the same money-ticket you have zero chance of getting Congress or the President to substantially alter the system. Even the courts, which until recently I held out as the last possible hope for a strong check on government excess, don't seem to be immune from being influenced to toss aside their views and vote in line with the power structure (Supreme Court...a complete about-face on the 14th amendment re the presidential election...a refusal to substantially justify the decision...etc.)
I don't advocate a violent 1776 response, although our Forefathers certainly did (and published many papers on why armed revolution against an unresponsive government was a dandy thing). I don't have a particular yen to get shot rushing the Capitol building. But if my government decides that it won't listen to me, and will even attempt to coerce me into accepting limited freedoms (or none at all), then perhaps I'm no longer obligated to pay attention to my government on a number of issues.
The question for me becomes: which issues? And if a sufficiently large number of people react in this manner, won't the government - like all governments throughout history - resort to violence to enforce its edicts? No power structure can stand to be ignored; loved or hated, yes, but ignored? No way.
So if the established system won't respond, what do I do outside of the established system as a form of protest?
-maxpublic on Slashdot