"Democracy is not about trust; it is about distrust. It is about accountability, exposure, open debate, critical challenge, and popular input and feedback from the citizenry. It is about responsible government. We have to get our fellow Americans to trust their leaders less and themselves more, trust their own questions and suspicions, and their own desire to know what is going on." Michael Parenti
"Television is altering the meaning of "being informed" by creating a species of information that might properly be called disinformation... Disinformation does not mean false information. It means misleading information - misplaced, irrelevant, fragmented, or superficial information - information that creates the illusion of knowing something, but which in fact leads one away from knowing."Neil Postman
Lack of participation by the many has allowed exploitation by the few. I believe this promotes not only loss of faith in our government, but also loss of faith in ourselves. Some are concerned about this, but they have convinced themselves they have no chance of going up against the monolith. We have our small groups of conspiracy theorists, extremists, and self-styled revolutionaries. But let’s face it; the vast majority of Americans are now just a great big flock of apathetic, uninformed sheep. A whole generation out there thinks they are learning about current events by watching Jerry Springer. And their parents find it acceptable that the content published or broadcast by our news media is controlled by corporations, advertising revenues, and ratings. How can millions of Americans not see how truly dangerous this is? Throughout history, these conditions have created a mechanism for manipulation, repression, and abuse of the people by governments in every part of the world. It’s happening right now. Of course, it is a bit more complex than that, but it’s enough. Are you scared yet? You should be. Is this the legacy we will leave for future generations?
No, absolutely not!
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness” The Declaration of Independence
The American people have something no other country on earth has, The Declaration of Independence and The Constitution of the United States. I am so in awe of these documents. I dare you to read them right now and not feel a great swelling of patriotism and pride. Those words were written for you, for all of us, by men who willingly and courageously risked everything they possessed, including their lives “in Order to form a more perfect Union... and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity,” Since then, for over two centuries, countless American men and women have worked, lived, and died protecting our Country and our Liberty. Are we going to denigrate their sacrifice and turn our backs on our responsibilities?
No, we most definitely will not!
So how do we begin? Where do we start? Well, I have some suggestions.
We can start utilizing our republican form of government built on a foundation of basic principles, unalienable rights, and majority rule. "We the people" are our government, just as we have been from the beginning. There is one catch, the only way this works is if we actively participate in its processes.
Become informed and do what you can to further public awareness; talk to your friends, neighbors, coworkers, your children. But don’t just talk about who is to blame for what's wrong. Try to focus on how you think we can do better regarding specific issues. Courageously explore new possibilities with thoughtful consideration. Ask others for their ideas on a particular subject; listen to their words with your heart and mind open to all the potential of new understanding. So it went with our Founding Fathers in homes, town halls, and taverns; giving birth to a new nation
Make it a new rule to talk about politics without using the words Democrat, Republican, Liberal, or Conservative. Today, these partisan labels little resemble their original meanings and only serve to divide and separate people, pitting them against each other. Picking one side to join in discussion discourages independent thought and limits the resources and tools needed to find workable solutions for the good of all the United States. Strong emotion and passionate discourse are precursors to positive action. However, hot debate can quickly become over-heated argument. Above all, never give up your self-respect by disrespecting others, lose control, and degenerate into name-calling and abusive profanity.
On Election Day, invite a friend or neighbor to ride along with you to vote. Or volunteer to be a poll worker.
Learn about the workings of Congress, and how bills and resolutions become law. Find out what is being proposed and debated on the House floor and in House Committee meetings. Your Representatives will vote on these bills and resolutions. So, call or write their offices to let them know how you stand on a particular issue and urge them to vote yes or no. This is not a full time job; it only takes a few minutes of your time. Here are some handy resources to make it easy for you:
"GovTrack.us is an independent, non-partisan, non-commercial website…bringing together information on the status of federal legislation, voting records, and other congressional data from official sources, and turning it into an understandable and trackable free information resource for everyday citizens…”
Find your House and Senate Representatives, research bills & votes, and track Congressional activity by feed or e-mail on subjects that interest you (with links to State Representatives and legislation).
Information about crime and justice related bills and resolutions that have been proposed by members of Congress in this legislative session, and their status on the way to becoming law. House Committee on the Judiciary and Senate Committee on the Judiciary
More on the legislative process and its history:
THOMAS-In the spirit of Thomas Jefferson, legislative information from the Library of Congress
The truth is, our leaders, protectors, and others in positions of public service are only as honest, accountable, and deserving of our trust as we insist that they be. And they should only have the position at all because the greatest majority of citizens want them to have it, not because the vast majority of citizens doesn’t care if they have the position or not. We take many of our rights as citizens of this country for granted, and by doing so. we fail to do our duty as Americans. They are not only rights; they are responsibilities.
So let’s get going everyone, c’mon - we have work to do!
Do a little reading, and call or write your U.S. and State Representatives, your Governor, or Mayor. Let them know you are interested, and that you are watching them. Then exercise your right to vote. If enough people participate in our governmental process, elected officials will be forced into making decisions and casting votes based on the will of the majority of their constituency, not on the desires of special interest groups, or they are OUT. That is why they are called Representatives.
Yes, I do believe it can be that simple, if we want it to be.