I believe that so many of our elected officials are like fax machines. Old machines which are out of date and don’t work very well at all other than just spitting out bits of paper that doesn’t have a cohesive message.
While we’ve been watching the Ag Gag bill, Campy’s antics on dangerous, attention-seeking legislation and other antics, there are some things that have flown under the radar. Teachers are quitting in droves, workers compensation has been gutted, public schools are under attack and women’s issues, don’t even get me started there. Even in national legislator land, we can have a bipartisan agreement on air traffic controllers in a matter of hours but don’t bring up Headstart or Meals on Wheels cuts?
And don’t get me started on the legislative junket to Turkey about charter schools. No, I’m not kidding.
What have we become? Dr. Seuss said it best with the Sneetches, we’ve become a society of those who have a star on their belly and those who don’t.
One thing I’ve noticed and received multiple calls and emails about is that folks who usually don’t watch this stuff are paying attention. I’ve said it until I’m blue in the face, we do have some control of our local legislators if we pay attention to what they do. The Ag Gag bill has pushed folks into asking questions about other legislation. In that way alone, it’s good. What bills do your Rep and Senator propose, what are they sponsoring and how did they vote on a variety of issues. In times like this, where Tennesseans are sitting at a kitchen table filled with crazy and downright mean legislation, it’s good to hold public servants accountable. What are the doing for the public and not for their own special interests?
I want what is best for the next generation and with so much of what I’m seeing, I do worry. I get tired of politicians talking at me instead of to me. Cal them, if they won’t talk to you let your friends know. Send them email, if they don’t answer them, let your friends know. Elected leaders work for you, not the other way around. Remember that. Your voice is just as valuable is theirs is.
I have heard that from a lot of people lately and the only advice I can give them is to follow Stephen Colbert’s advice because you damn well “Better Know A District” and that is where we all can make change. You don’t like what your legislator is doing, find someone who will work with you on a personal level and they are out there. You will be surprised who truly is accessible. If they aren’t accessible, tell your neighbors. That’s who any movement starts. And have an end game that isn’t just about winning elections but looks toward the future. and protects the children of tomorrow from the incompetence and irresponsibility of today.
Right in our own backyards and at our own kitchen tables.