Welcome To Your First Day Of Social Studies. Again.

I need some clarity. As I get older, I realize that I have become more and more interested in our government. Unfortunately, I took Social Studies over 20 years ago, but back then we were taught that the people are supposedly in charge of the government. We send public servants to represent us in our government ergo (I love that word, don’t you?) we have a republic NOT a democracy which our current administration continues to preach as if we were beginning another Crusades — you know, those religious wars in the 11th, 12th and 13th Centuries? Oh, how history loves to get stuck in a irrationality loop. Sometimes, I wish we could just Ctrl-Alt-Delete the past few decades just to clear out the unnecessary cache. Ha! Cache! Get it? Since it seems that we are governed more by cash than by the citizenry?


However, I would like to go on and on about the public servant part of that last paragraph. Whatever happened to that term? No one uses it anymore even though we are still putting people in office to supposedly work for us. Quite frankly, I think our government — and ultimately, we, the people — look too much outside our country and not enough inside. Why? Who wants to look at your insides? They are all gross and bloody and should just operate on automatic, right? It may be a weird analogy, but it seems to fit. In no way am I saying that we should become isolationists, but I do think we should take our fingers out of everyone’s pie and use utensils instead. Our fingers shouldn’t be in our pie either. We should be baking fresh pie and sharing it with our citizens.

Let’s face it. Most of what is happening inside of America is ugly and we don’t want to see it. The fact is we should be facing it as we would the horror movies that Hollywood puts out to entertain. Just look at Sicko and the section about how our hospitals are dropping off people who need medical care. Look at the fact that none of the firehouses damaged in New Orleans have been repaired.

It has to start with us — the citizens of the United States Of America. Here is our government job: to keep the people we put in government who represent us in check. We have got to speak louder. It doesn’t matter your political affiliation. It doesn’t matter if the majority doesn’t agree with you. The fact is that communication with your representatives has never been easier with our new technology. Go to their website and tell them how you feel. If you are angry, tell them that. Don’t threaten, but state your anger in a logical way. Let them know. Tell them if they are doing a good job, too. Everyone likes praise and a little ‘attaCongressperson’ might make them less bitter; less jaded. Our government officials aren’t machines; they are human with emotions just like us and will sometimes react accordingly.

The thing is that we put our representatives in their position. We pay their salary. They should answer to us. We are their special interest group. If they see that many of their constituency are of the same mind and of the same opinion, they should be protecting our interest in government instead of catering to any special interest groups that may be bankrolling their latest car, house, campaign or casino/resort in their hurricane-ravaged city. If you don’t like the way our representative is handling things, get out and vote to give someone else their job. It’s that simple.

I realize these are all basics of that Social Studies class, but it seems that we increasingly have forgotten our rights and duties. We have become lazy — yes, myself included — and we all need to change this. Take a couple of minutes and find out who your Federal representatives are and then your state and city officials, too. At least, found out how to find out. Here, I’ll eliminate a step. Congress.org will give you a federal and state list by simply putting in your zip code. If nothing else, go out, register and then vote. You may be tired of the campaigning, but remember one thing, this is a bunch of people interviewing for a job and we are the hiring committee. All you need to do to get on this committee is fill out a short registration form. In fact, here is a good place to start.

Okay, class dismissed. Don’t forget your homework and remember the only major test will be on November 4th, so do a little research and come prepared to have your say.

Listening to: “I Beg Your Pardon (I Never Promised You A Rose Garden)” – Kon Kan
Kon Kan - Move to Move - I Beg Your Pardon

23 thoughts on “Welcome To Your First Day Of Social Studies. Again.


    I would challenge everyone to take it a step further. Do you know your congressional rep? Why not? Get out there and meet them. Correspond with them. Become a part of the process.

    Volunteer for those public servants you believe it. Get active. It doesn’t take much time when all is said and done.

    While it is definitely true that they are our public servants, it is also true that it is We The People. Howard Dean (sigh!!!) talked about people-powered politics. I have been fortunate enough to see that principle played out in FL and now here.

    Start small, but start.

    (Thanks for letting me hijack your post, Howard :-> )

  2. Unfortunately, the process is a lot less like a job interview and a lot more like a Cap-Snaffler (“Snaffles caps off ANY can or bottle!”) infomercial. Yeah, I’m cynical, but despite having an honest view of the political process, I still know who my state and federal legislative reps are. And I vote.

  3. mom

    Excellenent my number 1 son. I am so glad you listened to all the many things you were taught at your mothers knee. Love ya son keep up the good work. Mom xoxoxo

  4. Excellent post. (Have to watch my language – Howard’s mom is in the hizee).

    I would also just ask that people just pay attention more. Listen to what your government does. Talk about it with your friends and family. That adage about not talking about religion and politics is bullshit. (Damn – there goes my language pledge, but I’m riled up).

    Like you said – we are given all the tools to make a difference but yet we’ll talk about Paris Hilton for an hour.

  5. I think that the whole process worked better back when the constitution and bill of rights were made. In todays society, things need to be updated. We update our clothes, movies and technology, why not the documents that hold the country together? We can’t reply on something made hundreds of years ago to still function in the 21st century. We don’t expect that of technology why would we expect that out of something that is supposed to make the government of, what, 13 states, function as one to work on 50 states?? It just doesn’t make any sense.

  6. Mom: Taking credit for all that I do again, eh?

    Spencer: Trust me. She’s said worse. And being riled up is the reason I wrote the piece.

    DaDuck: I agree. There are certain aspects of the U.S. system that certainly needs updating.

    Steve: Yeah, it’s getting to that point finally. I just hope it causes people to act.

  7. I think about this sometimes when I’m checking out comments on a post at ESPN or something. The fact is that a fair amount of sports nuts are not idiots, they’re bright enough to recall things like so and so rushed for x number of yards against y and that team employs a 3-4 defense, therefore so and so should have a good game against team q that also employs a 3-4 defense this week. So why are they spending their time on ESPN.com instead of discussing local/national/global politics?

    I think they feel disenfranchised (and I tend to agree)-that big money, not their vote, puts our representatives in their positions. Our feeble attempts at finance reform are laughable. Our representatives do not feel beholden to us, they feel beholden to the special interests. I give you a standing ovation for your effort, and I feel we all need to get involved. I do the moveon stuff and I participate in various email campaigns, etc., but I think that getting the money out of politics is the way to get people into politics who have a genuine interest in being public servants. That’s my rant.

  8. And I’m in total agreement.

    My hope is that if enough people actually do stand up and say ‘it’s wrong’, it will change. And, no, I’m not going to take off my rose-colored glasses. The match my skin tone too well.

  9. I think the problem is we pay too much attention to national politicians instead of the ones at our local level. These are the people who determine our tax rates, rules, who sits on the school board etc. moreso then Congress.

    National pols are no longer relevant, especially when towns and states have seen dramatic dropoffs in federal funding. The Fed govt is almost literally funding the same amount of money to the local level today that they were in 1960.

    This is the main reason why our municipalities are struggling with funding.

    So if they are not giving us as much money anymore and all Congress does is react to the news, why do we give a crap about them?

    It is only a recent thing that we paid so much attention to Washington politics yet historically they bumble along and achieve nothing like they have always done.

    It is time we get involved like you said Howard, but at the local level where it matters. Go to town or city council meetings. Vote for your mayor. Speak up about local issues.

    Con is the opposite of pro and Congress is the opposite of progress.

  10. Damn I forgot to add that a Senator or House Rep has never been elected to the White House. Doesn’t that tell you something about how relevant Congress really is?

    It’s a civil service job that requires no output and sets you up for life cause once your in you have a 95% chance of getting re-elected.

    That is unless you have a ‘wide stance’ when sitting in an airport bathroom. hehe.

  11. LOVE that last line.

    To prove that I know a little bit about what’s going on locally. A bill is going through the Colorado Congress that would allow people with
    disabilities and HIV and are on Medicare to go back to work and pay Medicare as if it were an insurance premium. This way they can get the care and medicines they had been getting and get to go back into the work force.

    There are calling it the first piece of ‘feel-good’ legislation to go through Colorado in a while.

  12. I want to come back and say I was wrong on this statement: “Damn I forgot to add that a Senator or House Rep has never been elected to the White House.”

    There have been Presidents who at one time in their career were members of Congress. Bush I, Ford, Nixon, Johnson, Kennedy for example.

    James Garfield won the Presidential election while still being a member of the House. Warren Harding and JFK were active Senators who moved directly into the White House.

    So I can’t even spin it to say I meant being an active member of either side of Congress hehe.

    I was wrong. I will say this though. I have heard national talk show radio personalities state on-air that no Senator has ever won the Presidency. So I am not the only one misinformed.

    At least I’m big enough to admit it unlike those talking head windbags.

  13. The thing is after doing some research I found out former Senators and such got to the Presidency via the Vice-Presidency, so I figured that you meant no one had been elected directly.

    It’s good to know that you’re a big man. As it is to know that Congress isn’t soooo bad.

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