Be in the GamePosted: October 16, 2013
To paraphrase a friend, we typically get the government we deserve. Anyone who is frustrated with the goings on in Washington, D.C. or in State or local government; perhaps it’s time to reflect on what they are doing to be involved in our democracy. If you think being involved only requires entering a voting booth on infrequent occasions, you shouldn’t be surprised when things pop up that make you shake your head, or wonder how sane folks able come up with what you may perceive to be a crazy plan or idea. And, don’t we all know people that moan and complain about the outcome of elections only to learn that they don’t bother to vote at all.
Our democracy does not work if you expect that those in policy making areas can read our minds or that they even have a clue about what may be important to us. Making the process work requires ongoing engagement and a dialogue to ensure that views and ideas are brought to the forefront to be considered. And, we all need to take responsibility for jumping in to make the process work.
It’s not easy to be truly informed if you only hear and consider one side of the debate. We all like to hear from and associate with like-minded folks. But, for me, hearing differing opinions and ideas helps to either reinforce what I might already be thinking or opens my eyes to other possibilities. Ask questions, perform some research, talk with elected officials and feel free to disagree with those who you might typically agree with.
In a recent discussion with a friend that turned political, he asked, “So, are you happy with your President?” My response began by stating that the President is OUR President. Regardless of party affiliation or beliefs, we have elections to choose officials to represent us. If we disagree with the final outcome of an election, it would seem that rather than fighting tooth and nail to throw up roadblocks, doesn’t it make more sense to work with folks to find common ground. In our personal lives, when things don’t go 100% our way we typically make adjustments. We find ways to work around various issues in order to arrive at acceptable outcomes. It’s not always easy and can be messy and difficult at times. Government is really no different other than scale.
Teddy Roosevelt put it nicely (think gender neutral language), “It is not the critic who counts. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by the dust and sweat and blood; who, at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who, at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly; so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat.”
So be in the game. Get a well-rounded view and then decide where you stand. Keep the debate healthy and invite others to engage along with you. And, don’t be disappointed or consider your work a failure if things don’t always go your way.