After watching friends and family-members lose their jobs, or fear that they would, or struggle to find one, and after watching the value of our savings and our homes drop like rocks and then slowly struggle to recover, it’s natural to want to blame someone (the President … Congress … the Governor) for not fixing things fast enough. It’s tempting to say, “Just throw the bums out and put someone else – anyone else – in charge.”
It’s also tempting to say, “It really doesn’t affect me on a day-to-day basis, and I can’t do anything about it anyway, so I’m just not going to think about it.”
But please don’t. We are so fortunate to live a country where citizens have the opportunity – the privilege – to have a say in how we are governed. Our elections are referendums not just on candidates, but – even more importantly, in my view – on philosophies of government, which differ greatly between Republicans and Democrats.
Whichever political party controls the various governing bodies – the executive, legislative and judicial branches of our federal, state and local governments – will greatly shape our country in the years ahead.
I share the philosophy of government implicit in the New York Times’ editorial “The Damage of 2011:”
After they took power in January, the hard-line Republicans who dominate the House reached for a radical overhaul of American government, hoping to unravel the social safety net, cut taxes further for the wealthy and strip away regulation of business. … [They] did significant damage in 2011 to many of the most important functions of government, and particularly to investments in education, training and transportation that the country will need for a sound economic recovery.
As President Obama said in his year-end radio address yesterday:
[We] are at a make-or-break moment for the middle class. And in many ways, the actions we take in the months ahead will help determine what kind of country we want to be, and what kind of world we want our children and grandchildren to grow up in.
I firmly agree – but not only about the “actions we take in the months ahead,” but about the decisions we make as voters about who will lead us in the four years after that.
That’s why I’ve decided to once again take on a grassroots leadership role for the Obama campaign here in Naples, FL.
A defeat of President Obama in November would most likely mean Republican control of not only the White House, but the House and Senate as well. Think it’s tough to protect my philosophy of government with a Democrat in the White House, 51% of the Senate and 44% of the House? Just wait.
Economic policy. Tax policy. The environment. Energy policy. Women’s rights. LBGT rights. Selection of Federal judges and the next Supreme Court nominees. All in Republican hands. To me, a very scary thought.
Margaret Mead once said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
I hope one of your New Year’s resolutions will be to take a more active role in shaping our world.
Make sure your voter registration is up-to-date, including your signature.
Consider requesting a mail ballot to vote at your convenience.
Mark all 2012 election dates – federal, state, local – on your calendar now and commit to vote.
Get in touch with your local Democratic Party organization. (Google your county/state and “Democratic Party”. Sign up for email updates.)
Let the Obama reelection campaign know you’re in.
If you live in Naples and want to get involved, let me know.
Resolve to engage in 2012.