Tuesday, February 7

The government is me; I am the government

It's an election year.  Again.  Interminable, yet necessary.  As an American, I live in a democratic country.  And one of the great things is I can say what I'm about to say without fear of getting thrown in jail.

There are a lot of news stories just now about the federal government: two of the big stories are about Syria and about  health insurance, contraception, and the Catholic Church.  Economic soothsayers spend a lot of time examining signs and portents that indicate something about the economy, so they pant with anticipation waiting for reports on employment, GDP, housing, etc.  In my nearly bankrupt state of Illinois, there are budget conversations.  Governor Quinn wants to spend more money.  Apparently he has a money tree somewhere in Springfield.

We ALL grumble about the federal government.

We have to stop grumbling.  Why?  We are the federal government.  We, the taxpayers of the United States, are the federal government.

So if you are a tax-paying citizen of the United States of America, the next time you say something about the federal government, stop and substitute "I."  You might say "The federal government needs to do something about immigration reform."  Say this instead: "I need to do something about immigration reform."

How do you do that?  1)  Be informed.  Not just one newspaper or TV channel.  The new is filtered in a variety of ways for a variety of reasons.  Get your information from more than one legitimate source.  2) Think for yourself.  We are far willing to jump on a bandwagon or succumb to groupthink.  3) Do your homework.  Don't take news readers or other people's summaries or opinions without doing a little fact-checking.  The Internet is an amazing thing.  You can get the text of bills before Congress online; you can get just about anyone's actual speeches and position statements online.  4) Vote. 5) Run for office yourself.  6) Vote. 7) Get involved with your community, even if it's just with your children's PTO or PTA.  8) Vote.  9) Read or re-read The Constitution. 10) Vote, but remember to be an informed, skeptical, and critically thinking voter.

And remember: we are the people; we are the government.

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