Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Interactive Democracy

I've long believed a nation is only as good as its citizens.  An apathetic, uninformed citizenry will probably elect poor leaders.  An involved citzenry will demand an efficient, transparent government.  At least in theory.

The worst thing: apathy.  In a nation of 300,000,000+ it's easy to think that your voice doesn't matter.  Add to that the frustrating gridlock in D.C., billions of dollars spent by special interest groups, and you start to feel like a pretty small fish.

Maybe that's why a lot of people don't vote.  We feel like our voice doesn't matter.  Wrong.

The very thing this country needs is for you, me and everyone else to do the opposite.  Stand up when you see something wrong.  Let your approbation be heard if you see something right.

It's a hard habit to get into, but I've been trying to practice what I preach.  Two examples this week:

I read this article in the local paper.  Long story short: a man flips off a cop, gets pulled over for speeding (the driver insists he wasn't).  It's implied he was pulled over for flipping the cop off.  The man informs the deputy he has a concealed weapons permit and weapon.  The officer draws his gun on the driver and his wife, and takes his gun.  Check the whole thing out.

This bugs me in a lot of ways.  I'm not a huge fan of concealed weapons, but I believe without a doubt that free speech in America needs to be protected, no matter how offensive. A man shouldn't be detained by law enforcement for a distasteful gesture. And if the citizen had his weapon lawfully and wasn't threatening the cop, he shouldn't be drawn on.

So what did I do?  I called the Marion County Sheriff's Office and voiced my complaint to the voice mail of a man named Dan, who incredibly enough called me back.

The other example:

Listened to Oregon Public Radio interview my Congressman Kurt Schrader.  For 20 minutes the guy spoike, and every word he said sounded like it came from my own mind.  I've never agreed so much with a politician!

1.)  He spoke about solving our budget deficet by simplifying the tax code and restructuring entitlements.

2.)  He described how sustainably logging our forests would prevent the catastrophic forest fires we've been suffering.

3.)  Most interestingly, Schrader publically said he doesn't trust the NSA, even what they tell him in the classfied Congressional briefings. He wants to end all the mass survaillence of our phone and email records.

So yeah, check, check, check.

I was so excited I called his local office and told them I supported the Congressman one hundred percent and would be happy to help however I could.  The lady seemed delighted to get a call like that and happily took my info.

So in my own way, I've made my voice heard this week.  I plan on doing it more and more.  It might not make much of a difference, but it will make some.  Now imagine if we ALL did that.  

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