Saturday, September 26, 2009

Contact your representatives

Our time is mostly filled with day to day activities. We are mostly concerned with work, family matters, driving here and there and then catching a few minutes rest when we can. Then of course there is the boob tube which seems to demand a lot of out time. We have responsibilities: work, family, friends and hopefully church.

One responsibility often forgotten and readily pushed aside is that of being a citizen. Many of us are disenchanted with politics. I surely can understand why. But the responsibility still clearly rests upon us. So many of us don't even bother to vote let alone know who the candidates are and what they stand for. When we do vote we often vote on party lines; not bothering to know the issues. We often dismiss our core values without a second thought. One example is so many good Catholics voted for pro-abortion candidates. What causes us to do that?

I think back on that prior generation, the Great Generation. So many fought, so many died so that we can enjoy our freedoms. Yet this current generation can't bother to vote or make an informed vote.

When is the last time you practiced your citizenship? When is the last time you read the constitution - have you ever read it? It you think that Washington stinks what have you done about it? When was the last time you contacted your representatives?

We just can't sit and let things happen. We are responsible as citizens as to where this country is going. First we must be informed. We need to know what is going on in Washington and our state legislatures. I dare say, most of us have no idea what issues congress or the senate are debating and voting on. To be informed we need to actively seek out information. That might be difficult as most of the news media is more interested in their ratings and their agenda than bringing us honest news. Most news time or print space is wasted on trashy tabloid stuff. So spend a little time to find a good news source, and I'm surely not referring to the "mainstream" (that is liberal) media or most newspapers. There are some good blogs out there. Just do a little searching.

Second, form your opinion. Here is an issue that interests me (most should). Gather information about it. Now check it out against your core values.

Third, let your opinion be known. Don't be afraid of offending anyone. Your informed opinion is just as valid as anyone else's. At times there are those who don't agree with me, but I find I'm respected because I am firm in my beliefs and not wishy-washy. More often then not you will find that your family and friends and acquaintances will agree with you. When they don't, being informed will help you have a constructive conversation about the issue and perhaps, just perhaps, you will convince them.

Letting your opinion be known includes contacting your senators and representative and state legislators. Being informed, gathering information, forming your opinion and letting your opinion be known can take, really, less than one hour a week. I don't think that is too much to give to become an active citizen.

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