As of this writing, it is the morning of the Texas, Ohio, Rhode Island and Vermont party primaries. I certainly hope you all voted in your respective precincts. But democracy does not stop at the polling place. The citizen’s work is not limited to a selection of predetermined candidates, though that has sadly become the common idea.
Beyond today and even beyond the presidential election, a citizen’s job is to challenge that which (s)he sees wrong in his/her government, and if necessary, make the changes him/herself. Democracy is only the voice of the people if the people continue to give themselves a voice every day.
The last election saw a great number of people come out to change the composition of Congress. We voted for change that we have yet to see. What we have seen is a lot of pandering with very little substance. The war in Iraq has cost us roughly three trillion dollars so far, as a result of mismanagement and no-bid contracts, and the war in Afghanistan is in fact fueling the opium trade there. Meanwhile, our economy is slowing down at a rate that is frightening most Americans.
Our President says that the war is creating jobs and putting money into the economy, something that would be true if not for the fact that much of our manufacturing is being done outside the US. The money that is coming in is going to the richest 10% of America. These people will be affected little if we come to a drawn out recession.
All of that is to say this: we have imbued the presidency with more power that it needs to have, focusing our democratic efforts solely on that office. Most who go in to vote know little to nothing of the other offices up for grabs and that is a shame. We are not truly the masters of our government, as we should be, unless we dictate the happenings at all levels.
Freedom only exists for those who know how to use it. No amount of feeling free will make it so if you don’t make it yourself.