It has been on the news that since the tragedy in Tucson, the members of Congress are now in demonstration of civility and are going to cross the aisle and sit together during the president's State of the Union address. Now this is a good gesture, but I have a much more radical idea for the members of Congress and also for every elected official, and for that matter, every citizen of this country. Let's all move beyond symbols of civility and actually work together and do our best to restore our country to the global symbol of how things can and should be. We once stood as a shining example of what can be, yet now we no longer resemble that role model.
First, we must stop this foolishness of just embracing every idea of the party we belong to even when it's an obvious bad idea. The process of voting was so important in the hearts and minds of our Founders so each person could help guide the course of our country and stop the tyranny of being held in check by a king who only had self-serving policies and laws. In a very loose way, we have entered an era of that same kind of tyranny. When one person's beliefs or wants trump the voice of the many, when you break it down, what's the difference?
Here is an example: If a town wants a Christmas tree on public property, I have seen one family force it to be taken down or stopped in advance - it does not matter if there are 5,000 families in the town that want it up. Is this in anyway a symbol of a free democracy?
In the last election, I had the displeasure of hearing people say they can't vote for President Obama because he was black - now that is just moronic, first in belief and second in statement. I was just as displeasured to hear it said I have to vote for him because he is black. How about you can or cannot vote for him because he is qualified and poised to do what needs to be done or not, just a suggestion I hope takes hold.
It seems it's the lobbyist and corporations that help form the policy path of this country in general, but beyond that, it's the party lines that divide. You can no more be in favor of a policy for the sake of party line than you could because a person's race or beliefs - it just does not make sense in this age of information access.
A senator proposing a bill and it might be a thousand pages long, so to avoid the doldrums of having to actually read the bill, most senators will vote on it based on the party line proposing it. This does mean it's every member of our political system but enough to be a problem. The party line divide is expressed in our voting patterns - we would (most of us) vote for a candidate based solely on the party they belong to even when we have no idea what they stand for or work to achieve. If you practice this, you have (I feel) no right to complain about policies you disagree with anymore than the nonvoter. The major detriment of party line voting is the candidate has the base number of votes and will only do what is required to maintain being elected. If the danger of failing to be elected was solely based on performance, I assure you they would perform in a manner that would continue them being elected.
Lately, I have seen a dramatic increase of talk of revolution and overthrow by force of our government. This is possibly the most foolish statement I have ever heard. Revolutions are the outcome when when every possible course of action has been exhausted and only then when justified. I see no proof most of us have done anything to guide the course of this nation other than scream over what each individual feels is a assault on their personal rights. So let's use the insane analogy that the revolution has come and gone the screamers have one and now they face the ugly truth that the factions of revolution are in complete disagreement on course as they were before the power change, what then? We break into a dozen smaller countries to appease each group? Not only would this be a completely nonviable course of action, but it would also weaken and destroy any credibility in the world theater. If the majority was not motivated to assist in a positive manner to help advance the country, why would anyone believe they would act in any way different after the revolution? Any talk of forceful overthrow of this government is negative to a degree I do not have the words to express. Think of it this way: The comments I have read of revolution and overthrow have been posted online. So you want to use force to attack a government that you have the luxury of having a computer or at the very least access to? You have a free media to post these rants, and you have the right to post them with impunity. Oh, we are so oppressed in this country.
The only course to change the current ills of our society is to look within "what can I do in a positive way" should be the question. Stand up and do something; sometimes you may not be heard at first, but redirect and never back away. YOU need to make changes you want on the outside on the inside. Start in your home, then neighborhood, and so on.
Lead by example and this will spread, and once it takes hold, it will become a solid base on which to build upon. We are the answer. We can rise above or sink into the abyss. The choice is ours. Continue more mindless rants or come together and move our country into a more just and viable society. Elect politicians who will work toward these ideals or continue to stay out of the way of the selfish and misguided in every area of our society. I know what I'm going to do, do you? On this Martin Luther King Day, I'd like to share two brief quotes of his that directly relate to our current condition as a nation:
Nonviolence means avoiding not only external physical violence but also internal violence of spirit. You not only refuse to shoot a man, but you refuse to hate him.
The limitation of riots, moral questions aside, is that they cannot win and their participants know it. Hence, rioting is not revolutionary but reactionary because it invites defeat. It involves an emotional catharsis, but it must be followed by a sense of futility.
It is now time to act in a positive manner, it is not time for screams of dissent-fueled hatred - no profitable outcome can come from that. We can all profit from moving our society to a place where character and principle are the benchmarks we are all held to.