The other day, I was so agitated by what I saw in the newspaper (yes, I still read the newspaper) that I sat down and spent several hours writing a scathing blog. What spurred this on was a list of our apparent choices in the next Presidential election. Here’s what I wrote:
“I’m writing this because of what I think is the most critical time in our nation’s history, we have been offered a list of candidates to vote for in the next Presidential election that would be laughable if it wasn’t just so damn sad. This group consists of a bunch of clowns, overt liars, pathetic losers, or those consumed by their own twisted ego.” Note: There are two candidates I need to know more about before I can determine if they would be good Presidential material—and no I’m not going to tell you who they are.
I then went on to make a list of things I felt the President and Congress needed to do to get America back on track. The list included improving the education system, raising minimum wages, replacing infrastructure, redesigning the welfare system, creating universal healthcare, eliminating subsidies and pork barrel spending, reworking the justice system, dealing with environmental concerns, getting corporate influence out of elections, increasing the effectiveness of our military, blah, blah, blah. The last one was to insist your congressmen, get off their self-serving asses and do something about the problems we are facing.
But when I read it, it struck me that the blog seemed to be missing something. So I emailed a draft to a friend of mine whom I often have review my work (God bless his tiny, tiny heart for being so excruciatingly critical). He immediately called me and said, “This is just the same old rant I see day after day about what’s wrong with the government. Thing is, you haven’t said a thing about what can be done to solve any of these problems.” I knew his comment was right on target.
It was then I realized stomping my feet and pounding my breast about what was wrong with America was never going to do a damn thing to change anything. If it worked that way, all we would have to do is have our politicians drop into our local bar to determine what America’s next step should be.
I was pondering this when my friend said, “Moaning about what needs to change doesn’t accomplish anything. The only thing that counts is for you, Dave Clark, to do whatever you can do to try to make those changes happen” (hell, why isn’t he writing this blog). And, with that, he suggested I make up a list of how I could become a more informed American and work to make this country better.
I thought about it.
Let’s see, I could vote. Yea, I do that in every election and my candidates of choice seldom get 40% of the vote. I guess that’s still better than the more than 50% of my fellow Americans who never vote (but truthfully, I don’t think I want that disinterested bunch voting).
I could send letters to my representatives about how I feel they should vote on key issues. Yea, and that would get me another great form letter thanking me for my valued input and signed by a first-rate robot. Then I could watch as my representative voted for the exact opposite of what I had hoped for.
I could work to get the candidate of my choosing elected. Yea, not having a decent candidate to support is what started all of this.
So here’s what I came up with that I hope I can do (drumroll for the next bullet list):
- This year, read at least 5 books on current politics and those people seeking public office.
- Read everything on politics printed in the local newspaper.
- Find the best sites on the Internet where key issues get broken down.
- Join a politically active, local group that supports my beliefs.
- Watch every political debate on television.
- Write letters to the editor of the local newspaper on key issues.
- Contact newspapers and encourage them to analyze the issues and eventually recommend candidates (some are no longer doing this).
- Whenever politics come up in my conversation with others be able to present my views in an informed manner.
- Use my blog to write about key issues especially those affecting GEEZERS.
- If I find a candidate I can support, do whatever I can to get them elected.
- Make sure all my lists contain exactly 10 points.
Somehow, it doesn’t sound like enough (and honestly, it also sounds like too much). I’m sure I have missed some effective ways to work for change and would welcome your letting me know what other strategies you think might work.
I really feel we are all in the same boat. You may all differ on which way to steer that boat, but right now people, the important thing to remember is that the boat is sinking.
And one final thought—For Pete’s sake, even if the candidate is your mother, don’t vote for her unless you can say “Putting mom in office will result in our country being better and stronger for everyone.”
“The politicians are laughing at us. The rich pay them to laugh.”
DAve Clark, 2015.