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10.16.2011

All politics is local

Last night our US senator stopped by a local fundraiser to help fill out the picture of what's going on in Congress. She was preaching to the choir. We all watch the news, discuss legislation, talk with our elected representatives and take an active interest in the issues facing us today. I've worked on many campaigns, run for office, and served in elective office. Politics is the grease that movitates and moves society forward and what, if not that, is more important for the future of our children? I could go on at great length about social responsibility, fiscal accountability, and economic integrity and probably will in future posts because it is inextricably connected to the life I lead with my family.

What bothers me most about today's current affairs, and there is plenty to choose from, is campaigns and political parties flagrant disregard for having to answer to the facts. Fox news is patently biased to the point of being propoganda. Members of congress make up their facts to suit ideology and when they are called on it, they simply say they didn't mean to be taken seriously. The media doesn't hold anyone accountable to the truth unless it will sell copy. This is a deadly combination. If a "news" outlet can call their exaggerated ideology the truth, candidates can get away with blatent lies, and the 4th estate doesn't hold them accountable then where does the public get reliable information to make informed decisions? Ignorance is no way for us to chaperone this country into the hands of the next generation and deception and dirty tricks is no way for politicians to work the system. What kind of message does that send our children?

Right now, this problem is most evident in the gap between the Republican party and it's supporters. I'm not sure if a lot of Republicans are aware of what their national and state parties are up to. They came into office campaigning on jobs and economic growth and have spent their time on dismantling women's rights, voters rights, and the middle class. This is happening all across the country and I don't believe if they had campaigned on what they are actually doing, that their rank and file supporters would have voted them into office. The party itself has changed so drastically in the past 2 decades that I don't think a lot of supporters are aware of what has happened. (If they are, then my apologies - but that's a different discussion.) Right now, though, the time has run out on taking for granted what our so-called leaders tell us. We all have to look more closely at what is being done on our behalf by the people we elect. Not just what the media tells us, but look at voting records, understand legislation, and inform our reps of what we expect from them.

There hasn't been a more important time for activism in 30 years. Not since the Great Depression have we faced world wide economic troubles this severe. in this congress, our elected members spend 60% their energies working on re-election fundraising (making them beholden to whoever gives them the most money). They are blinkered about making sure the other party doesn't stay in office, without understanding in the least that if you learn to work together, it diminishes your differences, more gets accomplished and we all win.

If you say you don't care or don't get engaged because "they are all the same" you diminish your voice and our democracy. If we don't get their (and our) heads out of the sand and face the storm that is coming, our children won't stand a chance of doing as well as we have, and there won't be anyone in Washington to teach them political right from wrong.