We all lead busy lives. We juggle many responsibilities, from family to work. Many work multiple jobs to support themselves and family. Seems like there is little or no time for anything new. We tend to think of government as something happening somewhere in the distance and not much need to pay attention. Many of us think that we, as individuals, can do little if anything to influence it. On the other hand, we feel free to express our discontent and frustration with government and how they are, or are not, making our life better, or plain not governing.
Our democracy is “for the people, by the people”. For democracy to work all citizens need to participate. Government without citizen participation is more akin to a dictatorship. Participation means a lot of different things. Primary is the need to vote. To cast a meaningful vote we need to research candidates, understand what they stand for, their experience and track record. This means finding reliable sources of information. It also means discussing the pros and cons of current issues and proposed solutions with friends, family, neighbors. We must remember that democracy means discussion, debate and compromise – for all citizens. The bottom line is that democracy is not “Free”. It takes an investment of time on the part of everybody.
When government does not seem to function well, as today, and when it seems to be on a downward trend, frustration and apathy seem to set in. We have to believe in government to have a functioning democracy. So our challenge is to reverse the trend and for the citizenry to experience an improvement in the political process. To accomplish this we need to identify and elect some independent minded and experienced representatives. This happens when we all get involved. So, the message – allocate some time to our collective civic duties.