Recently, President Obama casually mentioned that "we tortured some folks." We did something impolite and may have inconvenienced or annoyed some folks. Kind of like farting in an elevator. An unfortunate action for which no one will be held accountable.
"We," the U.S. government, seem to be doing a lot of those kind of things lately. Without our own knowledge or consent, we hacked into some folks' computers at the U.S. Senate. We also put some folks on a secret blacklist, banning them from traveling on airplanes, without charging or convicting them of any crime.
I don't know about you, but I'm getting sick and tired of some of the stuff "we're" doing. I'd rather that we, the people, treat folks a little bit better than "we've" been doing through "our" government.
But it seems we can't change much of what our government does. We voted for Barack Obama because we didn't like George W. Bush and his policies. We voted for Democrats in the Congress because we didn't like the Republicans. But it didn't work. Our government is still doing most of the same bad stuff to the same innocent folks that they were doing before.
Fortunately, there is something we CAN do. We can stop voting for some folks. Yes, it will be impolite and annoying -- kind of like President Obama seems to think torture is. But people have tough jobs, they're working hard, and sometimes when that's the case they can be forgiven for doing things that piss people off. Doing things such as not showing up at the voting booth to affirm their supposed support for a whole lot of stuff they actually oppose.
The thing is, elected officials and their appointees seem to be committed to hurting some folks, no matter which candidates for office we, the people, vote for. Even if we can't change the policies, we can at least make it clear that "we" aren't part of it anymore -- that "our" government no longer represents us and seemingly no longer wants to.
UPDATE: I am not advocating that we vote for no one. I'm saying that we should vote more selectively, and that this provides leverage to make our voices heard more effectively. See this comment I wrote in which I explain how this strategy works. Conservative Republicans make their politicians earn their votes; too often, liberal Democrats do not. The result is that the entire political spectrum, and both parties, drift ever further to the right. And we end up with deeply disturbing things happening supposedly on the American people's behalf, and folksy rhetoric coming from a Democratic White House on gravely serious issues of governmental abuses of power, which sounds more like what we'd expect from Reagan or Bush. At some point people have to say "enough is enough!" and take our votes more seriously and only use them in favor of politicians who stand for what we believe in.