Thursday, January 2, 2014

What do You want from Your Politicians in 2014?

Local TV station WREG posted this question on their FB page, “What new year resolutions would you like to see local politicians make?”  As I looked down through the comments there were many that said “retire” “quit lying” and “work for the people who elected them.”  One was, “take better care of WE THE PEOPLE.”  Some even wanted fiscal responsibility and the impeachment of Obama.  While many of these responses are laudable and I agree with, I wondered how many of these commenters were actually holding their elected officials accountable.  They seem to think that it is the politicians’ responsibility to be honest and responsible when it is actually the other way around.    While it is true that we should seek to elect honest and trustworthy individuals into office, it is up to We the People to make sure that they are once they are elected.  Politicians are like everyone else. They must be held accountable. It is up to us to hold them accountable. How many of us attend city council meetings? Attend committee meetings? It is truly an eye opener. The first MLG&W board meeting that I attended was amazing. The way that they ~our employees~ treated Memphis citizens was shocking. Public servants they are not.

Outside Independence Hall when the Constitutional Convention of 1787 ended, Mrs. Powel of Philadelphia asked Benjamin Franklin, "Well, Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?" With no hesitation whatsoever, Franklin responded, "A republic, if you can keep it."

It is up to us to keep it. If we want Memphis and our politicians to change, it is up to us to be informed and hold them accountable. Don't be satisfied with what they tell you when they want your vote. Be informed throughout the process.  An example of this is TN Senator Lamar Alexander on the recent budget "deal" that cuts pensions for disabled veterans and negates the slight sequestration savings.  Lamar Alexander is up for reelection this year, so he dutifully voted against it.  The real vote however was for cloture, which he voted for.  So in essence, he can technically say in his campaign ads that he voted against the bill, but the rest of the story is that if he wouldn't have voted for cloture on the bill, ~along with some other wimpy Republicans~ it would not have made it to the vote for passage.

You would be amazed at what one person can accomplish.  That citizen must be informed and pro-active in the political process.  One of the popular quotes that we see around the start a new year is “You must be the change you wish to see in the world” by Gandhi.  We must apply this to the political process as well.  2014 is a big year.  Are you going to be the change that you want to see in Memphis or wherever you live?

If you really want to know how to effectively engage and be proactive, go to the Center for Self Governance.  Their training is invaluable to the citizen activist.  Don’t just leave your future and the future of your kids and grandkids to nameless politicians.  It’s up to us to keep our Republic.  I don’t know about you, but their future is worth it.  

The question isn’t how our politicians are going to change, it’s how are we going to effect change in our politicians.

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