Friday, 06 January 2012 00:00
For some 40 years, I have had a paperweight on my desk with this quote from President Dwight Eisenhower – “Politics ought to be the part-time profession of every citizen.”
Notice the phrase used the words “part time.” I do not advocate giving everything up to get active in politics – no matter what political party you consider. With 24/7 cable news coverage, mostly focused on government and politics, we all can tend to cut off even thinking about being active in the political process. We do get turned off.
Now, let me comment about a regular experience I find as I speak in New York and Florida. It hardly matters what topic I am presenting, but there are generally questions with complaints about government. That is when I ask this question.
First, I say do not raise your hands, just think about my question. The question is, “How many of you have attended a political party meeting or event in the last six months?”
Generally, people squirm in their seats and look expressionless. From that point, I go on to say express myself by saying, “How can you complain when you do not even participate in the process?”
What I mean is that if you do not participate, how can you complain about the results of government?
Believe me, if more of us were involved government would be different. In today’s world, we are all very busy. Between work, our families, and social relationships, we find it hard to attend political meetings.
But, again, I submit that even if 10 percent of us got involved, we would find better government at the local, state, and federal levels.
Getting involved goes beyond political action. We all have local civic associations, business organizations, churches and synagogues, and other organizations where all of us could make a difference – if we showed up once in a while.
When you get down to it, life is really all about showing up. The challenge in today’s busy life is, where do you show up?
Why not start by taking the time to go to at least one or two local political meetings as a part of your 2012 New Year Resolutions? Or if it is not a political meeting, go to your local civic association or even school board meetings. The challenge is not just “go.” You have to get involved as you attend each meeting.
Remember, complaining alone does not make anything happen. We all have to be better participants at home and in the rest of the world.