We represent ourselves with the money we spend.
We no longer have an affect on the politicians we elect into office. They listen more (and probably only) to those who contribute to their campaign.
Point in fact, I sent three letters to three different state representatives, expressing my concern on a local issue and asking them for a response on their position. No response (and I sent the letters on May 5th).
Now I'm not bitter, but that was the first time I took the time to write my representatives and it's very discouraging to not get a response (out of three attempts). I assert that if I were a major contributor to their campaign (and probably had a hotline into their office/desk), I would be heard.
So those that find themselves on the 'have' side of the fence (millionaires on both the individual and corporate sense) basically rule our country. Where do they get their money? From us, the wage-earners that spend on their products/services.
Those who may still have some idealism and say "But Jason, we have elections!", I would counter that we elect those that are most prominent or charismatic, those politicians that have the most campaign money to get in our faces/minds through modern media.
There's only one fix to this problem (well, there may be others, but this is me being idealistic again
Until then, watch where you spend your money, know who will ultimately get it and how they will spend it. If you're a liberal, spend your money on companies/people that think liberally and vice versa if you're more conservative.
The same can go for countries, as well. If you don't like the way that China treats their people, then don't spend your money on products made in China (that's hard and sometimes more expensive, but it's really your call and it does have an impact).