It's obvious when election time is rolling around again because nothing of substance gets done and a lot of grandstanding cranks up on issues that make people's blood boil but really have little to do with anything that actually matters in our day-to-day lives.
This happens especially at the federal level, where both political parties introduce legislation that they know the other side will never support and will vote against. This gives them sound bites for political ads. "Candidate Smith doesn't support family values because he voted no on a bill that takes money away from babies." Actually the bill had other things tied to it that would have either increased taxes or been impossible to enforce. But it sure makes good campaign fodder.
Or "Candidate Jones voted to destroy our environment," when all Candidate Jones really did was vote against an extreme environmental law that would have harmed businesses and cost thousands of jobs. Even the people who introduce these bills secretly don't want them to pass, but they are political ploys for election season.
We see it on the state level as well. Campaign ads pour through our TVs making candidates sound so evil, so untrustworthy, when, in fact, the information is taken out of context or just plain inaccurate. That's how the game's played these days. It's used this way because voters buy into it.
At least at the local level there's much less of that kind of thing. Elected officials are less likely to drum up phony or unimportant issues to grandstand. They have to deal with real, every day non-partisan issues and see their constituents while grocery shopping. It happens from time to time, but we can't remember an example of it in recent memory.
This kind of political gamesmanship has ramped up in recent years. There have been political shenanigans since the beginning of civilization and America has a rich tradition of it. But now there is so much money, so many special interests, so many politicians only wanting to be reelected and not deal with the truly important issues, it has poisoned our system.
It's no wonder so many people do not trust elected officials. Then again, whey do we keep electing the same ones? That's the real mystery.