Saturday, April 05, 2014

Whose line is it, anyway? (The streetlight!!)

Ok, ok, this isn't a post about streetlights.  Mostly.  Well, it starts out with a streetlight.

Some of you may remember my youngest Cyberdaughter of Poopsoap fame.  You know, guest post from last year?  Cat - poop - soap?  It was called Passing Through Gethsemane.

Well,  It seems that a while back a streetlight in front of her apartment went out.  Dark, dead.  Every time she left, she groused about the stupid streetlight being out, but figured that somebody else would call.  But as the days passed, it didn't get fixed.  So, she asked a neighbor if he'd called.

Nope, he hadn't.  So, they groused some more and it still didn't get fixed.  So, she asked another neighbor (there were four apartments affected by the darkness) and no, they hadn't called either.

So, finally, she bugged the first neighbor, who agreed to call.  Nothing, it remained dark.  So, she bugged another neighbor, who also agreed to call.

Still nothing.

So, she bugged another one, who called, and lo and behold, the next day, it got fixed.

No, she never called it in herself.  It may have taken three out of the four apartments to call for repairs in order for it to get fixed, but nobody called until they talked to each other and realized that NOBODY had called, and for two weeks, this light remained dark because all four of them thought somebody else would call.

So, that begs the question - whose line is it, anyway?  Whose JOB is it?


It's yours.  It's mine.  It's all of us.  Everybody.

This country is founded - the government is organized - around a Constitution.  That document is an agreement.  An agreement between every citizen of this country about how to organize and empower a government to carry out those functions that we all can agree should be carried out by that entity.  It is provided with an amendment process so that each generation can change aspects of that document that have become dated, or unnecessary or simply unable to meet expectations for the new times and culture in which that generation finds itself.  Or, additions to deal with new conditions or technology that changes our culture and our lives.

Like streetlights.

Our Founders even said that was the intent.  They EXPECTED us to make those changes when we think it is needed.  They expected us to get involved in politics to show our elected legislators how we want this country run.

But that takes organizing.  It takes people who are willing to step up and get involved.  People who will take responsibility.

Like in the streetlight story, somebody has to make the call.  We can't all sit around on our collective asses and wait for somebody else to do it.  We can't, because if we do, the person who does may not have the same ideas as us about how to approach the new problems or may have the intent to change something we thought had already been settled - like women's rights.  Or contraception.

Or even the right to protest.

National polls and studies have shown that the demographics of this country are undergoing a huge change.  America is getting more liberal in its thinking.  The way marriage equality has advanced is a good example of that in action.

But you wouldn't know it by the results of the 2010 mid-term elections.  Republicans turned out in sufficient numbers to gain control of the House and pare down the majority enjoyed by Democrats in the Senate.  Republicans enjoyed massive gains all across the US at the State level, and have been using those gains ever since to wage a literal legislative war on women's rights and the rights of both minorities and women at the ballot box.

They did it because the Democratic base stayed home.  Nobody made the call.  We all assumed somebody else had our backs, and we got absolutely steamrolled by a more organized right wing.

If each of us don't stand up, register to vote, and actually Go TO THE POLLS and vote, it'll happen again in 2014 and again in 2016.

EVERY vote counts.  Yours, mine, your neighbor's, your grandmother's, as well as the nasty asshole down the street.  There have been Presidential elections in the past which turned on just a few votes in a few precincts in just one or two States.  History, as a result, rested on how just a few Americans voted.

Will Republicans be able to regain control of the Senate and the White House if YOU sit on your ass at home and don't vote?  It could very easily happen.

Check the law in your State.  Make sure that you are properly registered to vote.  Be sure that if your State is one of the Republican dominated ones that enacted laws requiring an ID and (like Texas) require that ID to match the name on your voter registration card, BE SURE that it does.  If it doesn't, take steps to ensure that you have corrected that problem before the election.

Then, on election day, get out there and vote.  Stand in line, and do so for as long as it takes.  Make sure that you follow the rules so that your ballot isn't spoiled or incorrectly filled out and it will count.  In short, be an informed and active citizen who is aware of the issues and is ready to actively participate in the electoral process in your city and State as well as nationally.

Remember, as Robert Heinlein noted through one of his characters, there may not be anyone on the ballot you want to vote FOR, but most assuredly, there will be someone or something you want to vote AGAINST.  If you don't vote, you've got no reason to bitch about the results.

Just get out there and make that vote count.  I damn sure will.

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