Posted by: minnow | September 23, 2013

You Want Power?

I honestly do not know where to direct the anger I feel at this moment in time.  I am angry at members of the GOP who are willing to ignore the majority in favor of the few who control their purse strings and I am angry at those among the ultra-rich who feel entitled to the political power their money buys.  BUT I think I am actually frustrated with many if not all of the rest of us the most!  WHY?  Because we are SOOooo…gullible and uninspired and willing to give up.  We buy into negative advertising as if those creating the ads are obligated to tell the truth.  We listen to the same “I’m in your corner” line of baloney from our “party’s” politician without insisting they show us their solutions BEFORE we hand them our votes.  We pick our pet issue and decide who to vote for based on a single stance but neglect to look at the big picture and how the rest of how a candidate votes actually impacts the issues we care about the most. BUT WORST OF ALL—we don’t bother to vote in the first place!

Forget about guns if you think you need them in order to protect yourself against the State.  Our State has more fire power than the next 10 countries put together and we’re proving more and more we’re not afraid to use it.  SERIOUSLY, THE ONLY  P O W E R  THE AVERAGE CITIZEN TRULY HAS IS THE VOTE!  Yet, we neglect to use it feeding ourselves the lie that it doesn’t really matter; one vote isn’t going to make a difference.

You’re right, of course.  One vote won’t make a difference.  Yet, less than half of those who could vote in 2012 actually did—LESS THAN HALF!  So, if even a quarter of the people who didn’t vote had decided to vote, and they all voted for the same candidate that individual would have won. And, the win would have been declared the biggest land slide since Nixon beat McGovern in 1972! Additionally, if half of those who didn’t vote voted and they picked a third party candidate, that person would have beaten both Obama and Romney.  In other words—their votes could have made a huge difference!

I believe most Americans are smart.  I also believe they are often overwhelmed by the amount of information and the conflicting points of view that come at them in a single day.  I believe most moms and dads love their children.  I also believe they often feel helpless to affect their children’s education in ways other than to facilitate the requirements of the school system and teachers.  I believe most parents want to feed their families healthy food.  I also believe without a degree in environmental studies few of us truly understand all that goes into getting food from where it’s produced to where it’s eaten and even fewer understand the impact that genetically altered food, herbicides and pesticides, preservatives, and manufacturing and shipping have on our overall health or the ultimate quality of the food we eat. I believe most people are willing to pay for healthcare and believe everyone should have access to the healthcare they need.  I also believe most people do not understand the ways in which insurance impacts cost and care or what the difference between using a provider with a health focus to medicine verses a disease focus to medicine would look like.  I believe most people work hard, try to pay their bills on time, and want to live within their means.  But, I also believe it is getting harder and harder for the average American to do so.

I get how trying to be an informed voter is difficult.  I understand the temptation to reduce your vote to a single issue as a way to simplify things.  I know the frustration people feel with attack ads and by the lack of ideas coming out of Washington let alone out of the mouths of those running for office.  During the campaign everyone wants to solve our problems but too few candidates actually offer up solutions.  It’s disheartening. I get it!  But the fact remains we have one real avenue of change and it’s with our vote.  We have one way to truly be heard and it’s with our vote. We have one way to overcome the   P  O  W  E  R   of wealth and it’s with our vote.

The next election is over a year away.  Even fewer people vote in midterm elections than in the Presidential elections.  Still, if you think about it that means we will need fewer votes to enact a change.  As a mid term election it probably feels way too early to start worrying about who’s running or what the major issues are.  But if we begin to organize NOW, if we inform ourselves about the issues we care about NOW, and if we seek out candidates willing to champion our causes NOW then we can define what the focus of the next election will be.  Through our votes we can take back the power the wealthy have managed to wrestle away from us.  But, we have to be willing to work a little harder to hear the voices of the OTHER, seek out the less financially well endowed, look for the articles hidden on page 3, and remember the faces we don’t see plastered in 30 second sound bites or TV or larger than life billboards.

Even if you begin by simply picking one issue to care about at least look at all the ways in which that one issue is impacted.  Don’t just vote for the person who says the right thing make sure that person follows through with action and that the action has the desired outcome.  And DON’T be discouraged.  Change takes time.  It took 42 years from the first time congress voted on a measure to grant all women the vote to their actually passing the amendment.  It truly is time for us to take our right to vote seriously and change the face of government NOW!

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