It occurred to me after writing my last post that I have neglected a fundamental point that needs to be made. I cannot expect you to care about the specifics of how a presidential race works if you do not care about politics in general. So for today I am going to try and convince you the need for you to be interested in what our government does.
Note I use the word “need.” This is not hyperbole, rather a matter of fact if you want to see real change occur in our country.
Many Americans don’t feel there needs to be a change in our government. After all, they can go about their lives without much problem. They are employed to some degree, have expendable income, and have leisure time in which to spend said income. What could be bad about that? Allow me to begin.
The State of Our Union
I’m going to throw some facts at you that are probably new to you. I do this not to bore you with details, or frighten you with statistics. I want to show there is a clear and present danger to your way of life.
The unemployment rate in America is currently 8.3%. What that number really shows is the number of people looking for a job but not finding one. It does not include the number of people who had a job, got laid off, searched for one but couldn’t find one, and eventually stopped looking.
These people are now subsisting on what checks the government will give them and what savings they have left. Including these people, unemployment figures shoot up to 15%. To give you some context, at the height of the Great Depression, the unemployment rate was 25%.
The U.S. budget deficit, which is the debt of one fiscal year, is $1.4 trillion for 2011. As of the writing of this post, the National Debt is at $15.4 trillion. I should note there is debate on that last number. If anything, it is too low a number. Some economists have the number closer to $200 trillion by including promised funds that don’t exist. I will talk about how the government gets away with doing this in a later post, but if you want to do your own research, google “federal reserve banking system” and you should have a good start.
To give you an idea of what those numbers mean. If you spread the national debt over every citizen, you individually owe over $49,000.
We have active war zones in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and are fighting a “War on Terror” in which our stated goal is to stop fighting when terrorists don’t exist anymore. Jon Stewart has a humorous take on that.
We have over 900 military outposts in over 130 nations across the globe, though number is unclear even to the Pentagon. Yet we are no closer to ending our wars or reducing the spending associated with maintaining our national forces.
Everyday our rights are challenged by the government. People have been fined for holding in-home Bible studies, a businessman went to jail for transporting lobster tails in the wrong packaging, lemonade stands have been shut down for violating city ordinances, police no longer need to go to a judge for a warrant, your home can be invaded by authorities without proof of crime.
If you have read any Orwell, Homland Security’s new slogan “If you see something, say something” should ring a bell of “1984.”
If you want a good look at all our legal problems in America, John Stossel did an excellent special on the matter.
Is There No Hope?
What has made headlines for weeks and continues to is President Obama’s Health Care mandate that forces churches to provide medical assistance that goes against their religious beliefs.
This is not a story for you to read and rip out your hair in anger or hang your head in despair. I wanted to share that with you because many Americans sadly don’t know these things exist. Hopefully I have sufficiently shown there is a problem with the status quo.
But that status quo does not need to be that way indefinitely. We are a nation built on individualism, freedom, and revolution. Our very inception as a country was in reaction to governmental tyranny. It is the case today that another revolution needs to happen in order to change things.
I am not calling for you to arm yourself and storm Washington, nor do I propose you go all “V for Vendetta” and blow up the White House. Not only are those ideas stupid, they would work against the change you want and just bunker the establishment down more.
What I am calling for you to do is to become politically active.
Now I know the phrase “politically active” scares a lot of people. Many think that means they have to watch C-SPAN, read books about politics, and work on a campaign, but let me tell you that is dead wrong. Don’t misunderstand me, those are excellent things to do and I encourage them, but you don’t have to do that to be effective.
Here are some things you can do to be politically active:
1. Consume the news
This can be as simple as reading a few stories online, watching a cable news show for a half hour, or reading the newspaper. Bottom line, you can’t make any decision without some information.
2. Talk to people about their political views
This is against everything we’re taught growing up. There are two things you never discuss: religion and politics. Well, that hasn’t been my experience and in talking to people not only have I learned more about politics, I have become more confident in my own beliefs.
When you talk to people about politics, just treat them like you would want to be treated. Be respectful of what they have to say and honestly consider their viewpoints. If your positions are right, they should be able to stand up to some critique. And along the way, you might just learn something.
Nothing gives me less hope for our future than when I go to a local town hall meeting and no one is there. Local issues matter and in the long run, they affect you more than anything else. Dipping your toes into local politics is really easy to understand and you will find knowing about the policies that affect you make the political sphere more interesting.
4. Take your vote seriously
I know most people think voting in a general election is throwing their vote away, but let me tell you it is not. If you take the time to do the aforementioned things you have more than just one vote. I talk to dozens of people about why I believe what I believe and why I will vote for certain people and oddly enough, they tend to see where I am coming from and agree. I effectively turn my one vote into many more by being politically active. Don’t be wishy-washy about the voting process. If people took it more seriously, we wouldn’t elect jokers into power.
I hope this has been instructional and a little inspirational. Remember that politics is a part of our life, just like bills, dieting, or decision-making. It affects our lives. The question is, will you let politics control you by not participating, or will you actively go out and pursue making your life your own?
Comment below with your thoughts. This part of life is all about communicating, so express your thoughts or opinions and get the revolution started.