Super Tuesday, fast approaching, should serve as a reminder that each of us has an obligation to ourselves and to one another to make this form of government work as best it can for as many as it can. I know a lot of folks who, like myself, have served or are still serving in the military. That's a form of service to our country-so is being a policeman, a fireman, a school teacher, a chemist or a second shift worker in a plant--actually, paying attention and being engaged in local, state and national issues is being a good citizen and being a good citizen is a form of service.
We all know, or live next door to, or are one ourselves--that person who complains about how our town attracts industry, how our state fails to look out for the welfare of all its citizens or how 'the clowns in Washington' (and sometimes 'clowns' isn't the word that gets used) are spending our taxes. And what do we, each of us, do about it, aside from complain? Show of hands--how many are registered to vote? Keep 'em up while I count. Hmmm. Okay, of that number, how many registered voters will vote in a primary on Tuesday? What did I say about keeping your hand up until counted? Thank you. And now, small drum roll, of those registered voters voting in a primary, how many will then vote in the general election in November? Whoa! Where did all the hands go?
Whatever aspect of government at whatever level you think is 'the problem', we are the solution. Each of us and all of us, together or as individuals. "Government" is not an abstraction-it is the embodiment of our will as free and sentient human beings to do for ourselves collectively what we cannot do individually. That's why we bond money to build roads or schools and tax ourselves to raise the funds for teachers, and hospital workers and soldiers and all of the seemingly countless tasks and tools needed to continue our lives. Sometimes we forget there's more needed than just the dollars. The process needs us and as more than spectators-democracy is a contact sport and you need to get off the bench and into the game. If all you can do is attend a city council meeting, or write a letter to the editor of a newspaper or watch a newscast tonight and expalin to your child where Kenya is and what a civil war in that place means to us, that's a start.
We love to assign blame instead of fixing the problem. We sometimes forget fact that when we point fingers at people, three of those fingers point back at ourselves. We are, ultimately, all we have to help ourselves. You cannot start too soon to become part of the solution.