Saturday, June 18, 2005

Good suggestion, can you get back to me with an implementation plan...

There is a story about how the mice lived in a house and they had the run of the place. Not just running anywhere they wanted and scraps of cheese, but cheese fondue parties, they so had the run of the place. So the mistress of the house gets a cat and the party is over. Mouse are getting caught right and left so all the mice have a meeting, of course.

In the meeting two of the mice suggest belling the cat so that they will always know when he is around by the sound of the bell. Everyone hails this as a great idea but curiously, no one, especially the two that came up with the idea, are all that excited about implementing the plan. Many people and organizations are like that, an issue arises, a solution is proposed but the proposer expects someone else to carry on the dangerous task.

I think we all do this sometimes. Let's all remember that when we see a problem, if we can fix it go ahead. From picking up the trash you see, all the way up to starting an organization or running for office if that is your bailiwick.

One of the topics that falls into the "I hope someone else fixes it" category is politics and the seemingly incredible ability of the voters to put back in office the same people that they were complaining about just before the election. In my area this is very true in local politics. One key to fixing this issue is very obvious, get out and vote! The other is harder but I am hoping is it just as effective. Write your representatives.

Don't think of yourself as just one voice. I imagine that I am just one representative of a cohort of people with similar demographics or econometric parameters and that if something finally moves me enough to contact my representatives then a whole bunch of folks just like me were similarly moved and that we now have a chance to effect some change. It is the same for you and your cohort.

There are several sites that make it easy to contact your representatives in congress. The Electronic Freedom Foundation has an easy form for each issue in their action center with a nicely prewritten letter that you can edit, and it automatically looks up your senators or congressman. The form went a long way toward getting me over the hump of inaction and sending those letters about the issues I care about, on EFF the letters will be about freedom in the digital world. Thank you EFF.

Another site you may use to find out who your representatives are, how they vote and where they stand on the issues is Project Vote Smart. Read up on the issues you care about and act.

Why did I tell you all this? Because I am fired up about the prison camp we are running in Guantanamo Bay and why are we not treating the detainees as prisoners or war, or as criminals who deserve due process, but we shouldn't be doing what we are doing (and please don't use the "not as bad as" defense). Because our freedoms are being abridged or altered by our representatives in favor of special interests. Because the current government feels very oppressive these days and I care about my freedoms, although the opposition doesn't thrill me either. Maybe we need a third position or to understand that left and right, up and down are not the only directions one can turn, and black and white, or blue and red are not the only colors.

I guarantee you that we will disagree on politics. That's OK. We should both agree that if we feel strongly about something that we should do something about it. Please act and make democracy happen.

No comments: