Saturday, April 30, 2011

Michael Reagan on elections

He makes an interesting point - that conservatives see elections as an end point,  whereas liberals see it as a beginning. It's trite but true, and ties into my earlier post about the view of conservatives and politics. Elections are an event, but they are part of the unending political process.
It is tempting to say, "well,  we did our job, we elected a good congress, or a good president. Our job here is done,  we can go back to our lives, our jobs, because the election is over." I have seen this happen twice in my political life,  once after 1994, and once again, ten years later after 2004. In the second case,  it is quite obvious that the enemies of freedom were allowed to try to change our fundamental national values. But the abandonment of political responsibility after 1994 is less obvious,  but in some ways more insidious
We assumed that because we elected revolutionaries to Congress,  we could leave them in place unsupervised, that they would naturally and only defend freedom and refuse the misuse of power. The honest ones followed their Contract with America and left Congress again, leaving the rest to slowly lose the trust of the American people- to the point that they were willing to sit back and let the Democrats come back to power, despite the 30+ years of evidence that this was a bad idea.
Keeping politicians' noses to the grindstone, and their political morals on the straight and narrow is not a full-time job, but it isn't a job for the high holy days of our political system, either. It's an not even an every day job.But it's something that takes a little bit of time and effort every so often. How much effort does it take to call or write your representatives when they make an incorrect decision? A couple of minutes of time at the keyboard, and a few more to take it to the mailbox. A little bit more time if you choose to call, if that's your thing.
What takes a little more effort is keeping up on the doings of your representatives. I will admit I find politics to be an enjoyable spectator sport; so I spend a fair chunk of extra time on following politics. You don't need to spend as much time as I do. But you need to check up on them from time to time. Look at their websites every so often, maybe sign up for their email lists. If you think they should have a position and don't, let them know.
We often say that our representatives should work for us, not us for them. If so, why are we letting them work unsupervised?

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