I am responsible. As a citizen of the United States, I am responsible for the actions of this country, through the elected representatives I have allowed to inhabit the hallowed halls of government. You are, too. Each and every one of us has the duty, as citizens, to let our representatives know when we agree and when we disagree with their words, deeds, and actions. We, the People, are ultimately accountable for who is sitting in the seats of power, and what those people do while in the seats of power.
It does not matter what position a person is elected to, it is the responsibility of the electors to make sure that the electees are following the will of their constituents. Not just some of their constituents, but the majority of them. We live in a representative republic that We, the People, have allowed to degenerate into a democracy, or mob rule. Each of the electees is in a position of authority that We, the People, bestowed upon them. But our job does not end when we exit the polling places of the United States.
For too long, the representatives we have been sending to the Hill over and over again have been turning their backs on us once they have promised us the moon and delivered dust. For too long, we have allowed them to treat the position of governance as their own personal piggy banks for themselves and their deep-pocketed backers. For much, much too long we have been getting the government we have asked for, instead of the government we as a nation need.
It does not matter if the electee holds the position of dogcatcher or president – the People who allowed the electees to assume those positions are responsible for the actions of that office. It does not matter WHO the People placed in the office, either through direct action or indirect inaction. We are all responsible, each one of us, for the actions of that representative.
What does this mean? It means that We, the People, must communicate our feelings, thoughts, and options – yes, even alternative solutions to problems we as a nation face – to these electees. When was the last time you smacked yourself in the forehead and said “I can’t believe that representative just did that! That’s not why I voted for them!” (alternatively, “See? This is why I didn’t vote for that person!”)? Is that where it ended? Or did you, like most citizens today, shrug your shoulders, say “Whaddya gonna do?” and walk away? Did you commiserate with your like-minded friends about the sad state of affairs in the nations capitol (or the city council chambers), or did you communicate with your representative?
Too many of us are shrugging our shoulders. Too many of us are drowning our worries and concerns in the next round of beverages, or turning the channel to a mindless pseudo-reality show and distracting ourselves from what we should be concerned about – the State of This Union. Don’t like the fact that the fees were raised at the pound? Letters to the Council would get your point across much more effectively than griping to your bar buddy. Concerned about your state allowing illegal immigrants to practice law at the State level? Letters to the Governor and the State Senators are more effective than flipping over to “American X Factor Dances on the North Shore with Ducks”. Indignant that the Office of the President has effectively funded the very groups that are mad at the United States and wish to do us harm, using money and weapons that we supplied to them? Letters and phone calls to the Office of the President and your Congressperson(s) carry more weight than a shrug of the shoulders.
Since the mid 70s, the effective turnout at the polls has been dropping precipitously each election cycle. That means that more and more of the decision as to who is representing us is being decided by fewer and fewer of the people that are affected. Meanwhile, more and more of the professional politicians are promising more and more largess to those who will vote for them, while fewer and fewer of the people who make that largess possible (through the paying of taxes) are available to make those tax payments – mostly through job losses brought about by economic downturns that lead to industries reducing their workforces. Economic downturns come from many factors, most of which are a direct result of legislation or decisions by the elected leaders of this country.
See the connection there? I’m not trying to beat you to death with obvious statements, but people who make a living by promising the moon to sectors of the populace just to curry favor with them and win their vote (“buying” votes, as it were) so they can continue to dip into the public funds are not concerned with long range results – they want theirs, and they want it now. And it is YOUR decision, to either vote or not vote, to either tell the person who represents your interests at a local, state, or federal level or ignore them, to either get involved or wonder what happened, YOUR decision that allows that behavior to continue. Problem is, if enough of you decide to abdicate your responsibility, then the whole country gets to suffer the consequences. We are seeing that right now, with the results of the last few administrations starting to pile up, one on the other, to create a whole landslide of unintended consequences.
It comes down to this – if you do not involve yourself in the politics and governance of this country, you are not going to like the end results. When ALL the people are heard, then the country will head in the right direction. It will not happen overnight – it may not happen for a couple of election cycles – but it must happen. The people who are elected to represent us must hold the Constitution above all else as the guidance and direction of this country. The amount of governance must be reduced. The business of politics must be removed, and serving the country must be returned to a duty, an obligation, and a short term of service. We as a nation must get to where the phrase “career politician” is banished and “statesman” can be used for former representatives once again.
It has been a long while since I was last … “inspired” is too lofty … uhm, motivated … to write an essay like you just read. I think I’m getting my blogging wind back, and I can see which direction it’s headed. I hope you will stick around for this long ride I see in my future.
Chat ya later…
Thanks for stopping by, In GOD We Trust, and Wear Red on Fridays!