Guest Post by Mixed Up Daddy
I beg you to take the few minutes it will take to read this and the few minutes it will take to act. We can make a difference if we stand together.
Quickly, let me apologize to those that come to this blog to get updates on Connor. I swear I, Mixed Up Daddy, am not trying to highjack this blog with political rants, and my wife will get back to writing posts on Connor, but she has graciously allowed me to write one more post about politics, and what I feel should be the most important issue for everyone – being heard in our government process.
Based on my friends who span all parties and political groups, and who disagree on many topics, the topic of “being heard” has bipartisan support. Let me also say that this is not just a topic on Georgia state politics (although I may reference Georgia as an example since that is where I reside), but most states and our federal government.
As we saw in Georgia on Thursday March 20th, the last day of our legislative session, once again our elected politicians chose to ignore the majority of their constituents and either never vote on bills, or defy the overwhelming majority of the public and vote the other way on bills. Rest assured this is happening in every state.
No instead we have politicians like Georgia State Senator Renee Unterman tweeting out 4 hours before the end of the session that others were tearing up paper in preparation for their confetti to celebrate the end of the session. (In Georgia our congressmen and congresswomen feel it is okay to “trash up” their chambers, and celebrate that they have screwed over Georgians once again.) We also have childish games like those played by Georgia Lt. Governor Casey Cagle who refused to bring bills up for votes in the senate because the house wasn’t moving on senate bills. We are being led by a bunch of adults who act like 3-year-old children!
All too often I hear those in the general public say, “This issue is so obvious, why can’t or won’t our government pass it?” I am guilty of it as much as anyone else. Well this is our chance to change things. The time is now for us to tell our elected politicians that we, the 99% that cannot buy politicians, votes, and laws, demand our voices be heard, we demand to be truly represented, and we demand to have our votes counted.
There is no reason in this day and age that we as “the people” are not allowed to vote on certain issues faced by our states and country. Some will say, “What are you talking about, we have free elections and thus get a say in our government?” Do we? Yes we get to elect those who you will represent us, but are they really representing us? There are many issues that we the general public can’t agree on, but there are quite a few that have overwhelming support in the general public, but never seem to get passed by our government (at the state or federal levels). There are some great politicians at state levels and at the federal level, but unfortunately there are far too many more that only represent their donors (the individual donors, corporate donors, and lobbyists). Let’s face hard facts, the more you donate the more you matter. Unfortunately most Americans do not have the ability to donate to campaigns, and thus are ignored by their elected politicians. The politicians will claim this is not true, but the American people are not as stupid as they think.
So how can we solve this problem? This can be solved by letting the people be heard. There are a few states that actually are progressive enough to allow this, but far too many do not, and the federal government does not. What am I referring to? Let the general public vote on certain initiatives and referendums. There is no reason this whole map is not dark blue.
I am not saying that every single initiative and referendum should be voted on by the general public, but there are certainly some that have such widespread support either for or against that they would be able to garner a certain number of signatures on a petition to get added to the ballot.
Of course most politicians would balk at this idea. They will claim that we have a democratic process already. That is partly true. Times have changed though and are changing more and more each day. This isn’t 200 years ago, 100 years ago, or even 50 years ago when we had to elect individuals to represent us because we couldn’t get our messages out. These days we have 24 hour news and can contact anyone, anywhere, at any time via cell phones, emails, etc. Our voices can be heard now. And they should be heard now.
Our politicians have no problem getting involved in the politics of other countries, demanding that they allow the democratic process to prevail, yet they will not allow that full democratic process here in America. Don’t get me wrong, we still have a better process then most countries, but it can be better and more democratic.
Some politicians will state that we can’t allow this because of certain laws, well guess what, you make the laws and can change them, and we are demanding that you do. Remember Mr. or Ms. Politician, you work for us.
So what can be done? I am here to ask for everyone’s help on this. I am begging for your help on this. If you ever get involved in any issue, this is the one I am asking for help on.
Contact your duly elected officials (you can find out who your elected officials are here, ) and demand to get their opinion on this topic and ask them if they will take the lead on this issue. If they say they aren’t for this or won’t take the lead on this, let everyone know, and vote them out.
If they claim they are for it and will take the lead on this issue, let everyone know, and if they don’t hold up to their end of the bargain let everyone know that, and vote them out.
Contact the media and demand that they bring this topic to the forefront of their reporting and keep it there until it is enacted in every state and at the federal level.
If you are not comfortable writing to politicians and the media, write them a simple note saying you want their opinion on this matter and send them to this page and let them know this is an issue you want to know their opinion on (politicians) and want reported on (the media). If your elected official does not get back to you or ignores you (such as my state senator Judson Hill who ignores the dozens of his constituents that I know that have contacted him), keep on them, and let everyone know they are ignoring you, and vote them out.
Demand that they take action on this now, not “some point in the future because we have more pressing issues”. There is no more pressing issue than letting everyone have a voice (vote). If your state is like Georgia and is only in session 40 days a year, and won’t be back until next January, demand a special session. Of course the politicians will say this takes money we don’t have, but they waste money each and every day, and each and every year in their budgets. Nothing is more important than allowing the American people to be heard. What are they afraid of? Don’t tell us you will take it up in the next session (next January) hoping we will forget about it. This will probably be a common reply as this is a big election year, and they hope they can ignore this issue right now, and then have the American people forget about it by the time the next big election rolls around in two year. Take it up now. If they don’t, or don’t vote for it, vote them out. Vote them out this year.
If your state requires that the governor call the special session, demand that they do. If they don’t, vote them out.
Let’s be honest, this special session should not be a long one. If we can get our voices heard, they will know that this is what their constituents are demanding and that this should be passed. If it is not passed, vote them out.
I also know there are a lot of people out there that say they will never vote for a democrat or never vote for republican, but if your elected politician will not get behind this and take the lead on this and vote for this, no matter what political party they are with, vote them out.
The last time I checked this was a nation “by the people, for the people”. We deserve to have a bigger say in our government. As we see each and every day, each side of the isle, at every level is playing games. Well our lives and our country are not a game. Since they will not represent us, it is time we force them to allow us to have more of a say in our lives and our country. Let’s show the world what a real democratic country should be like. And if they won’t allow us to have more of a say, vote them out.
Let’s come together and not allow them to ignore this issue “because it is an elections year” like they do every other year with pieces of hard legislation. This is an issue to be taken up now, otherwise, vote them out.
Please share this will as many people as you can. The only way we can have change is by having our voices be heard. If we, the 99% that can’t buy politicians, votes, and laws, band together we can finally force our politicians to listen to us. Only then will we be able to have a say, and finally get to have votes on the issues that so many of us can agree on, but they will not act on.