Thursday, May 13, 2010

To Reiterate . . .

Ward's been doing yeoman's work here for the past week or so as I took a short vacation from reality. His posts lately have all had a particular theme, however, and while I have no brilliant insights to offer I want to reiterate some of the things Ward's been saying.

Right after Obamacare passed, folks with an ounce of fiscal sense were ranting and raving about the horror of it all. Polls showed a wide gap between Democrats and Republicans with regard to enthusiasm about voting in the November elections (Republicans were enthusiastic; Democrats, not so much). Folks were engaged, enraged, and determined.

Well...time has passed. It's hard to sustain any intense emotion for very long. Polls are showing that the enthusiasm gap has narrowed (primarily due to Republicans' enthusiasm dampening, not Democrats' enthusiasm increasing). And we're still almost six months away from election day.

For most people (including me), politics is not something that makes the pulse race and the mouth salivate. Most of us would rather spend our time thinking about the Yankees (am I right?) or our children or our spouses or our friends or our faith, hobbies, meals, cars, vacations, books, movies . . . you get my drift. I understand this because I'm right there with the majority.

Here is the thing, though. I don't like doing laundry, but I like having clean underwear to put on after I take a shower. I don't like grocery shopping but I hate being hungry even more. Heck, I don't even like spending time brushing my teeth, but the alternative is worse.

There are a lot of things that we spend time doing that we do because we have to. Because we're adults--and responsible adults at that. Because we care for our families or our communities or our employers or our God.

Well, politics might fall into this category for some of us. Unfortunately, all too often it's one of the duties that gets overlooked or given cursory attention or is just plain ignored. And what a shame this is! Our political leaders are making decisions that will affect Americans long after we're gone. Oh--and it will affect us, too, in the short run. If we care about ourselves, our communities, our families, our employers (or the fact that we have livelihoods), and even our faith, it is important to keep informed about what is happening in Washington (or in Montgomery or in Tallahassee or Lincoln or whatever city is your state capital).

Too often people just go to the polls and vote the way they've always voted. They know they are supposed to be liberal or they know they are supposed to be conservative so they simply punch the chad by the "D" or "R" candidate that corresponds to those leanings. Or, even worse, they vote for the candidate who looks the nicest or sounds the nicest or who's the one they'd most like to have a beer with. The problem with the second scenario should be obvious, but there is a problem with the first one, too. Yes, of course, you should vote. But you should know why you're voting for a particular candidate so you can discuss it intelligently with others. And--often--you should call or email or write the candidate or the representative or even the newspaper editor and let your voice be heard!

The things going on today are frightening to me. We're seeing levels of debt I could never have imagined a decade ago. We are seeing the curtailing of freedoms and the expansion of government in unprecedented ways and at speeds that take my breath away. So, please--pay attention. Educate yourself. Make your voice heard. Vote. It all matters--and more than you probably imagine.

More later . . .

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