The local, national and international news remains chaotic and grim—but that was always the way. Each new event sends shock-waves through our collective conscience as to how the devil our world became so crazy. But let’s face it; to greater and lesser degrees it’s always been that way. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t strive to do better.
I look at many of our national leaders—especially in the House of Representatives, and can’t find a reason on earth as to why some of these people are taken seriously, let alone given power to “represent” us. In 2010, the progressive voter sat back on their apathetic asses after America elected Barack Obama in 2008, and thought that one man could—all on his own—cure our nation’s accumulated ills. We as liberal voters did not have our president’s back during the 2010 midterms thus ushering-in a level of legislative constipation not seen since Truman faced his “do-nothing” congress. There’s very little that can be said for the Tea Party and the ideological confusion they’ve wroght on both our houses—but you gotta hand it to ‘em—they got out the vote during the 2010 midterm.
The Republican Party has drifted further and further off track in recent years to where they can’t see past their own confusion and infighting to get anything accomplished in Congress. That, is of course, partly by design, and partly due to the insanity of the party’s drift toward extreme positions to appease a base who’s core belief is counter to just about everything stated in The Constitution they so self-righteously claim to hold dear.
If America is going to move forward in a productive manor, it can only happen if progressive voters mobilize–well in advance of the 2014 midterms. If not, Congress could easily fall further into the hands of right wing ideologues. We already see the push for redistricting and thinly veiled efforts to create poll taxes in an attempt suppress voters–specifically minorities, seniors and the youth vote.
It’s so easy to put off the things a voter can directly do to impact his or her own world in spite of the hurdles set in our paths by the inaptly named ‘Citizen’s United’ bill that has all but handed over our democracy to corporate America. Very few of us are single-issue voters, but for the sake of example, lets focus on one issue: Gun control. A whopping ninety percent of the nation wants thorough background checks and a limit on the number of rounds on magazine clips legally available for sale. Ninety percent of us want to see gun-show loopholes plugged-up—especially after learning hard evidence that terrorists openly advertise to their radicalized followers about how easy it is to gain access to firearms here in America. You can’t buy Sudafed at your local pharmacy without showing two forms of ID, but you can purchase a Bushmaster rifle as easily as you can go toy shopping at Kmart. Write your congresspersons and tell them what you think of their vote—and if it didn’t represent you as a constituent, tell them in no uncertain terms–and vote for the opponent the next time that official is up for reelection.
OK, it’s an oversimplification, but those are the basics. Use your voice by showing up at the polls on off years. Don’t just complain, do something. And if you’re so inclined, volunteer to help inform and get out the vote well in advance. There’s a lot that needs to be done prior to an election. Call your local board of elections or your affiliated party and volunteer.
If you didn’t like the outcome of the vote over gun background checks—especially in light of what happened at Newtown: Speak up. If you think immigration reform needs a major overhaul: Say so. If you think the congressional response to the victims of Hurricane Sandy left communities swinging in the wind: Don’t hold back, sing out. If you think it’s fishy that Congress sat back and allowed the sequester to take effect, but the minute it inconvenienced THEM due to the furlough of air traffic controllers—place a call, send an email or write a letter–and while you’re at it, mention head-start programs, Pell Grants, environmental concerns, veterans benefits—you name it, the list could go on for days…
Most importantly make an effort to be well rounded in your information. If all your news and information comes from FOX News, then you’re dramatically limiting your worldview and the same may be said about MSNBC. Do some reading for the love of Pete. Get informed. Get involved. Volunteer. Turn off the television set and walk away from the computer for a while. Your future depends on it, and if 2014 shapes-up the way 2010 did, don’t forget to shoulder some of the blame if you didn’t do your part. Apathy is your detractor’s best friend. And if you did nothing to look after your own best interests, you forfeit your rights to bitch about the outcome.
– Dissociated Press, 4/29/2013
My book, An Early Work Late in Life is available through PixelPreserve for $29.95 plus shipping and handling at: http://www.pixelpreserve.net/bookstore/