Sunday, March 17, 2013

21st Century Politics

Disclaimer:  I am a very biased individual.  I am attempting to write a piece with as little bias as possible, unfortunately some bias will creep in and some will be inferred.  I am not going to write this piece to convince you to agree with me. I believe that every individual should make up their own minds, based on their own belief system.  What I do want is for you to take action based on that belief system.

One thing that I have always been passionate about is our political system in the United States.  We are a constitutional republic.  We are not a true democracy. While ever vote is counted, you cannot vote individually for laws in the national spectrum. What you can do is vote for people to represent your views in Congress.  This was done on purpose by our founding fathers because a true democracy can become ruled with a mob mentality. 

Everywhere I hear people complain about how our elected politicians are out of touch, they don't listen to people.  They are owned by lobbyists.  This is probably true in more ways than one.  This does not have to be true today. 

The reason this is true, is because we the American people have decided as a group that we don't have a voice in the government.  This is why we are taxed, this is why laws we don't like are voted into law.  This is why you're Congress person is more concerned with what the NRA and the NAACP and the AARP have to tell them, then what we have to say as a people.  The American people can be, and I argue, should be the largest lobbyist group in the United States. 

If we the people would let our representatives know what we thought, we could do away with a lot of the money in politics.  Our elected leaders have lost sight of why they were sent to Washington D.C., and you know why, we the American people have allowed this to happen.  

In the past, the people had less of a voice in what their elected reps were doing than they have today.  20 years ago, the only way to let your Senator know what you thought was to call his office.  50 years ago, you had to write him a letter.  100 years ago, you could saddle up your horse, ride through Indian infested territory and maybe reach Washington D.C. in time to let him know your opinion.  Today we have Facebook, Twitter, and email, to let them know precisely what your views are on any subject.  In the past, the only way to know what was being voted on in the House and the Senate were to read the newspaper.  Today, you can read the bills yourself online.  Some of these are very interesting.  Some not so much. 

The point is that you can look at these bills once a week, and let Congress know whether you are for or against any given bill.  Not only can you, but it is your duty as a registered voter and American citizen, to do this.  I'm not perfect.  I just recently realized this is the way to bring true change to the American political climate.  Since I tured 18, and voted in my first presidential election, I have written my Senators exactly 5 times.  And I have done all this in the last few weeks.  This is as much my fault as yours.  But we must change, if we truly want change in this country.  

It's ridiculous that Congress has the lowest approval rating in years.  If you are dissatisfied with Congress, it is your own fault.  When was the last time you called, wrote, Facebooked (I know I just turned a social network into a verb), Tweeted or emailed your rep in Congress?  It's not Congress that we should be disappointed in, but ourselves.  Yes I am disappointed with myself, and with everybody who doesn't contact their reps.  It is all of our fault that our country is headed in the direction that is.  It's time to stand up and be heard. 

As President Obama is fond of saying on Twitter #wedemandavote.  I argue that we #contactcongress.  If everybody who reads this blog will do it, and convince at least a few other people to do it, and they will convince a few more.  We can and will make difference.

My last plea is to do any of the above, and let Congress know how the people feel about Assault weapons (S.150, H.R.437). I don't care whether you are for or against the assault weapon ban.  But let Congress know how you feel.  Otherwise, the lobbyists groups will, and we will all lose.  Below are the links on how to find your House or Senate rep, and the link to the Active bills that are on the floors or soon will be. 

House of Representatives
Active Bills