The word "quaint" was thrown around earlier in this thread; I'd like to use that word to describe the notion that the US Federal gov't is responsive to the will of those it governs. It sure sounds nice and jives with the fifth grade version of gov't we are fed in American public schools, but the reality stands in stark contrast to such an idea. Public sentiment has been strongly against the US occupation of Afghanistan for years. The response? A surge in troop levels. Public opinion was strongly against the healthcare overhaul. The response? Pass it.
The US govt routinely engages in caging non-violent people for victimless crimes, suppression of whistleblowers, and suppression of political speech. Such an entity does not deserve the legitimacy given to it by petitioning it (looks to me like most of our petitions end up in the waste basket). Despite this, I still participate in the system on behalf of a very small number of politicians, although I do so out of support for their principles, not because I expect them to be able to carry out sweeping changes.
The mechanism I put my faith in to bring about change is the marketplace. Bitcoin is an organic market response to institutionalized corruption. My buying of Bitcoins is not only a speculative investment in a game-changing currency, but also my way of acting as one of a mass of individuals voting against this corrupt system with our modest wealth. The ballot box and petitions are two forms of political action, another, more effective method is acting through the marketplace.
Here here to the want for more freedom using Bitcoins and seeing the potential for this technology. To that, I totally agree. But your first paragraph actually proves what I'm saying. I don't know if that was your intention.
I remember the polls taken on those things and you're right that the Powers That Be don't care what the people think, it's unlikely that any government cares what it's people think over the long term. The people must act on what they think, not just answer a poll. So where were the protests regarding the war? Where was the lawsuits? Where was the general strike? Where was the flood of calls and emails and faxes to congress? Where was the grassroots campaign to push for anti-war, anti-corporate empire candidates? Nowhere. And until that changes your government will remain the same: beholden to the interests that are organized and have a plan with what they want the government to do for them.