A few months ago, I was sitting in my allergist's office waiting the required thirty minutes to ensure I wouldn't have an anaphylactic reaction after being injected with all the things my body is allergic to. I was scanning the magazines, I usually can't stand the reading choices in Doctor's or Dentist's offices but on this occasion, I found a Mother Jones magazine, with a headline article, "The Science of Why We Don't Believe Science." I was intrigued and proceeded to read this article with great interest. Ultimately, this led me to purchasing a subscription to Mother Jones and I have not been disappointed. This is an incredibly well written periodical and the investigative journalism is second to none.
Where this is all going though is that yesterday, as the result of my being a subscriber, I read an article called, "Did Congress Just Endorse Rendition for Americans?" Which details a recent law passed by congress allowing for US citizens to be detained and transferred to foreign custody should they be considered unlawful combatants. This was all of course, quite disturbing, but what really hit me were the comments. The venom and upset...all punctuated by very little action as far as I know.
It suddenly occurred to me that if we are losing our democracy, we certainly aren't doing anything about it...not anything meaningful anyway. I posted the following response on the page and I hope that one my two or three readers will find it worth reading, perhaps thought provoking and hopefully action inspiring.
The past few years have showcased political fights that show a few things:
1) After electing Obama, we rejoiced and went back to our lives, having elected "our savior", who would magically change everything without our having to do much beyond elect him. We needed to provide the political base for Health Care. We needed to grow our influence, double down for any kind of national health plan, rather, we left Obama to defeat the most filibuster happy congress in US history alone.
2) Internet discussion will not reverse the patriot act or reverse the US course on civil liberties. We need to be (at a minimum) as engaged and active as Reagan's supporters were in completely altering the political landscape in the '80s.
I'm as guilty as anyone on this, but the truth is we've not been asking the hard questions of ourselves...questions like:
"Calling Republicans Nazis...is that effective or even accurate?" Nazis killed millions of people in a cold, calculated and efficient manner. The term Nazi or comparison to Hitler should be reserved for people like Joseph Stalin or Slobodan Milosevic and never used to score cheap political points.
If we are going to reclaim our democracy, we must collectively and individually realize that this is our democracy and we have to take it back, which will be difficult! We'll have to walk door to door and converse with our neighbors, listening and responding respectfully to those who disagree even if they are rude. We'll have to address their concerns (many of which are valid).
Until we are willing to pound pavement, make phone calls, work hard for our future, we'll continue to have this dysfunctional government. MoveOn can't save us, the coffee party can't save us. Occupy can't save us, we have to do it. We'll have to stay focused, ignoring unimportant or irrelevant tangents. We'll have to be smarter and more committed than the oligarchy. We do have the power, we have simply to assert it. Government operates with our approval, even if that approval is some version of apathy and inaction.
Now someone can argue with me! :-)