Government Sliding Downhill

Recently, Time magazine had a great article about New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and California Govenator Arnold Schwarzenegger. Both are working on issues that the federal government has yet to provide viable solutions for: fighting global warming, fighting disease (through stem-cell research), illegal gun sales and illegal guns, affordable housing, tobacco, poverty on American streets, declining infrastructure, and health insurance, among others.

If you’d give me a moment, I’m going to use this as a springboard. This movement and others are a sign of American’s growing decline in trust of government.

USA Today is reporting that this decline is real, as Americans’ confidence in the U.S. Congress is at an all-time low (14%), the lowest since Gallup first starting polling this question in 1973.

These issues are real issues that need to be solved, but Congress and the federal government refuse to step up to the plate.

Greater solutions are out there, but they aren’t coming from the politicians we elect. They are coming from those successful in their private lives (including Schwarzenegger and Bloomberg) who wish to help out.

Bloomberg is so frustrated with the way things are going that he announced that he was changing his voter registration from Republican to unaffiliated. This could be a sign that he plans to run for president next year. I certainly hope he thinks about it, because, unlike the other 40-odd declared candidates, he seems to care about more than reelection. I really like that he spoke at the Googleplex last week, a sign that he understands technology and maybe even Web 2.0.

Another non-politician who is fed up is Lawrence Lessig. Lessig is a professor of law at Stanford, but more importantly, he is the uber-advocate for Creative Commons and the “free culture“.

After nearly 10 years of working in the intellectual property field and advocating for reduced copyright restrictions, Lessig announced on his blog that he will now be dedicating his time towards fighting corruption and the influence of big money in politics and government.

His post instantly became very popular, hitting Slashdot, digg, and Wired shortly after being posted.

It is becoming more and more apparent that our government and our elected leaders aren’t going to help solve our country’s problems. So Americans’ are turning to others, the real leaders, who have the gall for the fight and the money to avoid special interests.

This is a trend that really interests me, and I will be writing more about it in the future.

And just to be clear, I am not supporting anyone for president right now. I’ve actually become pretty apathetic over the past year, especially thinking about these issues. There’s guys I prefer, and guys (and a gal) I don’t prefer, but I want to wait to see what everyone has to offer.