A number of articles and opinion pieces are making a big deal out of the fact that Congress's approval rating is at an all-time low, according to a new Gallup poll. The fact that the presidency and Congress is so low seems to me to miss the point. The point seems to be that Americans have lost their confidence in the pillars of our republic.
Americans expressing a great deal of
or quite a lot of confidence in …
Small Business 59%
Organized Religion 46%
U.S. Supreme Court 34%
Public Schools 33%
Medical System 31%
Television News 23%
Criminal Justice System 19%
Organized Labor 19%
Big Business 18%
Americans have little trust in the three branches of government that define our government. Congress, the presidency, and the Supreme Court have a combined approval rating of 73% - a rating just barely better than that of the military alone.
What does this suggest? What is the real story? It doesn't take a great leap to suspect that Americans are at the stage of serious flirtation with the idea of a police state. Weary of democracy, we are ready to hand ourselves over to the guys with guns, like Spain under Franco. Unable to export our own democracy to Iraq, we’re now leaning towards simply throwing it away. One can't help but wonder whether we might find ourselves in a police state should the combined approval rating for our three branches of government should ever slip below that of the military.
As a side note, only 34% of Americans still feel a great deal of confidence in polls, a number you’ll never see reported by the pollsters for obvious reasons (and, of, course, the less obvious reason that I simply made up the number).
Curiously, Gallup failed to inquire about the level of confidence in blogs, an institution apparently too new to deserve its own score. it may be that the sarcasm, wit, and insightful prose of bloggers is the only thing that now stands between us and a coup in which the military is welcomed as leaders.