Sunday, June 22, 2014

More on Tea Party and Voting

I have been "blogging" now for about four years.  During that time I have touched on a myriad of topics most often as a response to the news of the day.  Sometimes I imagine the course of a particular post in my head, driving in the car, walking the dog, taking a shower.  Many times, actually more times than not, the post evolves on its own and may not resemble the imagined essay that spurred the original idea.  Being a bit of a narcissist, I am often intrigued by my own creative process.  I will attempt to analyze the end result of a post as if it were written by another in an attempt to understand the motivation behind the writing.  This can be both amusing and disturbing when one thinks about the origin of inspiration.  When a particular post of mine just flows out, almost as if my fingers know which keys to hit without input from my brain, it can be very exhilarating.  When I have to work at a particular blog, typing, deleting, moving phrases, stopping and starting as if I don't know where the post is headed, it can be very frustrating.  I am sure I am not alone in these thoughts; many much more creative people than myself have both exalted and lamented in their own creative process.  Today I am wondering if in twenty years, assuming I still draw breath, will I understand more fully my own creative process?  Or is that the rub.  Creativity is best left alone, not to be fully understood, not to be overly examined, and especially, not to be taken for granted.

Perhaps, even more importantly, not to be taken too seriously.

It is easy to look at certain pop culture idols and shake one's head at their perceived self-importance.  It is easy to make fun of the one arena successes, whether it be sports, acting, or business, who believe that every utterance from their mouths is important, meaningful, just because they make a lot of money at their particular vocation.  But what about truly impressive people who have made a real contribution to society?  How self important are they allowed to be if they are truly important?  How much credence should we give to their opinions?  How much faith in their perspective?

How do we know when to respect or reject another's opinion?  Too often, the answer is, when it agrees or disagrees with our own.  When someone says that we can't possibly have all 7 billion people on earth come to our country, so all immigration is bad, do we examine the logic of the first premise before agreeing with the conclusion, or do we say YEA, to the speaker because we already dislike immigrants and aren't interested in facts to back our prejudice?

It is no secret that I believe that the tea party movement has been hijacked by wealthy individuals who were able to redirect the anger at the financial slugs who caused our recent recession against the government which stepped in to save our economy.  It is like blaming the cop for the crimes of those he arrests, blaming the doctor for the cancer she removes during surgery.  Yet, despite the minority of opinion that the tea party holds, despite the often ludicrous statements made by those claiming the moniker, the tea party inspires people to vote, especially in elections where turnout is light.  It should come as no surprise that they focus on these elections because that is where a motivated minority can be victorious.  The White House and US Senate are too big, too many votes to counter.  But local school board offices, state senate and representative seats, even Congressional House elections can won by candidates with a clear, one issue message, especially when that message places the blame for our country's troubles on an easy target.  What is truly sad, almost laughable in its irony, is that the majority of people who forego their voting rights, who claim their one vote doesn't matter, who say that they are all crooks, etc, they enable the minority to hold sway over the direction of the country by their apathy.  As if surprised when someone steals a running car, we wonder how it is that our public servants seem so unresponsiveness to our needs even though we've handed over the keys to our democracy by abdicating our responsibility to vote.

I am about half way through the Lapham's Revolutions issue so obviously I have revolution on my mind.  Throughout history, even today in many countries across the planet, there are people using violence to change their world.  Perhaps armed conflict, the literal death of one form of government for another is the only way for the oppressed to defeat the oppressors.  But just once, I would like to see Americans use their vote to change their government.  Can you imagine 75, 80, 85% turnout in November?  Can you imagine the silent majority getting off their butts and saying no to both those on the extreme left and right?  Can you imagine incumbents being held accountable for their actual votes in Congress?  Can you imagine candidates being asked specific questions, and then demanding specific answers as opposed to 5 second sound bites?  Can you imagine elected officials who emphasize the servant in public servant?

If not, then I recommend joining the tea party because by not voting you enable the extremes to win the day.  I heard someone say on TV that pre-World War 2 Germany was filled with good people, that most were not Nazi's, not believers in the Aryan Race.  But they allowed a vocal minority to rule the day and then had no way to bring it under control.  Unfortunately, this person was using the example to describe the raging Muslim radical minority which was hell bent on destroying Western civilization, and she was directing her anger at moderate Muslims who were allowing the radicals such power.  I use the example to remind Americans that we have the most powerful weapon ever devised to defeat extremism, the most direct method ever created to form a government responsive to its citizens needs without violence.  Our precious right to Vote. 

So Vote.  And, to be fair to my previous assertion about not taking ourselves too seriously,
vote early and often.


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