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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Our Country

Ours, not somebody else's.  Our Country, our state, our county, our town.  Ours.

You know, it's really interesting - visit the Democratic Party, Republican Party, Green Party, Justice Party web sites. Do you see what I see? 

Neither the Dems nor Repubs actually have platform statements on their sites, at least not that I can find. Both are focused on electing party members. Both the Green and Justice parties have clearly defined platforms. You can see clearly what they stand for. 

I'm an Independent. I'm for NO parties. They cloud the issues or don't actually care about them, for the most part, particularly those who've been around too long. I'm OK with the election results but our entire system is a mess.

I'm not very political.  I vote.  I email my reps fairly frequently about what concerns me; they work for Us.  I'm beginning to think that I have to email all of them weekly.  A really awful local talk show host, here in New Jersey, once said something on the air that I actually thought was brilliant.  He said that if we vote out incumbents so they know they don't have a guaranteed lifetime career, they'll start behaving better.  He's right.  

Most people vote party affiliation.  Most people associate certain parties with certain social and political philosophies.  Most people help elect somebody then go back to their lives and figure they've done their job as a citizen; that person they just elected will do what they want.  

I agree that we have career politicians who aren't paying attention but in addition to using our vote to prevent and avoid political dead wood, we can communicate our wishes regularly to those we elect.  If they know we're watching, if they know what we want, they'll pay more attention.  Most of us are too busy or don't think anybody will listen but if enough of us speak up, they'll have to; they mostly want to stay in office, after all.

I've been a librarian, in public libraries, most of my life, in 4 states, in many communities.  I've actually been required, in one job, to attend ALL town council meetings.  I know how things work on the local level and somewhat up the chain.  People are people, no matter who they are or say they are or think they are.  Think of shortcuts you make.  Think of things you avoid doing for whatever reasons.  Think of laws and regulations you "fudge" on.  Think of things you forget to do.  Think of ways you take advantage of what or who you know.  And, don't tell me you don't, everybody does or doesn't do something.  Do you think you're unique?  Do you think elected officials are any different than you?  Don't let them make you think so.

So the only way to be sure you have a chance of getting what you want from your elected officials is to let them know what that is and keeping telling them what you like and don't like about what they're doing.  You're a citizen of the United States.  Make your wishes known.  Put your reps email addresses in your address book, their phone numbers in your speed dial, their web sites in your favorites.  Become the dripping faucet, the squeaking hinge, the squeaky wheel, that makes them pay attention.

Have a great day.

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