Glad to see a few folks understand!"The difference is in what we expect and are willing to accept."
The problem is ingrained selfish greed. That is: the secret internal belief of the voter that something can be had For them personally - for nothing From them personally.
Our system of elected officials is purely based on the buying of votes. The only possible first-step towards the elimination of the effects of the above fact is for every vote to strictly apply this rule to their own actions: Never Vote For An Incumbent.
Obviously this is not the perfect answer - as perhaps we will be substituting bad for good - but it is a good first step towards avoiding systemic vote buying.
Who gets re-elected? And why? What is said about them?
"He/she has really done good things for us. They got those funds for rebuilding the county building - my electrician brother was over there three years on that project. They got this funding, they got that funding. All that government money has revitalized the whole area. Etc. etc. etc."
What is meant is: they got us somebody else's money for free - so let's vote for them so we can get more of the same.
Who gets elected? Why; the guy who promises the most stuff. The greatest Santa Claus who is running.
People in general are stupid and they like being stupid. They much prefer to hide inside their stupidity and then blame everything on some mysterious force outside themselves. The live and die by the credo: No decisions = No mistakes. Why? Because they are terrified of thinking. Thinking is hard work. Thinking is unsettling because in brings into question all the beliefs that people count on as being absolutely true every second of their lives.
That is what the Founding Fathers knew and which is why they specifically tried to create a system which limited governance to those best equipped for the job.
I agree with you when you: "If enough citizens realize they are being fooled and lied to... they will vote the bums out and replace them with folks who believe and respect the words noted in this post. Only then will we get our country back."
But I don't have high hopes for the present system fulfilling that dream.