Our basic civil rights

1 Dec

America, land of the free and the home of the brave, right?

These days we have to wonder.  More and more of our former freedoms have become nothing more than dust in the wind with the passage of time.  More and more of the details of our daily lives are managed, dictated, regulated, forbidden, demanded, or taxed by the federal government.

Each year, like some kind of paranoid mental patient, the federal government has been more and more concerned about protecting itself from the likes of us, the average citizen.  You know the sort…ones who just want to have a peaceful happy life, not the ones planning on taking over the world, causing murder and mayhem or even just a minor case of anarchy and government coup.  Only a small percentage of the population is any kind of a potential threat to national security, yet in order to maintain order and security, we all have to be punished?

That’s like putting kids in detention and adding homework to an entire school district’s students because one student put a stinkbomb in the boys’ restroom.  It makes no sense.

That’s exactly what S.1867, the National Defense Authorization Act would do.  It goes overboard, and like almost every other bill that wanders through Congress, it has been amended and re-amended so many times that it gives a person a headache to try and figure out what negated what and what is still in.

I still don’t know why the American public doesn’t force Congress to consider bills as solitary issues rather than lump sum packages of unrelated items.  Do we really need to stick in a package about the oil industry, a section on educational spending, some department budget allocations, and foreign aid to some country we can’t even find on the globe with a bill focused on the Department of Defense?

We need to all start using our basic voting rights and start contacting our senators and representatives and demanding accountability from them in regards to following their constituents’ needs and desires when they vote, present bills, sponsor bills, or work in a committee.  That’s why they are in Washington–they aren’t there to line their own pockets, folks!

Start off by finding out WHO your representatives are.  Here’s a website that makes it easy too.  Find your state, and click on it.  It will show  you all of the representatives and senators for your state, along with their websites.  Most of them will have a home page and a web contact form.  Use it to contact them.  (Example: Mississippi has 2 Senators, Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker.  Mississippi also has 4 representatives, Alan Nunnelee, Bennie Thompson, Gregg Harper, and Steven Palazzo.    By using my address, I can clearly see who represents ME in Washington D.C.–The two senators and Steven Palazzo.)

Be courteous.  Ranting and sounding like a crazed (or foul mouthed) lunatic will not do anything for your cause.  Remember, a fanatic never changes anyone’s mind.  If you get answers that indicate that the question/request was not clearly understood, or that the issue is not completely understood by your representative, you have a bigger job.  You’ll need to make them understand that their objections to seeing things your way are not applicable or are invalid.  Good luck with that, by the way!

Get your friends and relatives to do the same thing (writing to their representatives.)  Pay attention to responses you get…or don’t get. If your representative isn’t representing you, start looking for a candidate that will do that (or so he says, before he gets there anyhow.)  Vote the one who isn’t right out of office!

We once were a proud nation based on the concepts of liberty and freedom for all.  Let’s get involved, and keep the freedoms we have and make this country once again a great place to live, one we’re all proud of once again.  That requires every citizen to be pro-active, not complacent and apathetic.

  1. Start working to stay informed.
  2. Get in touch with those who represent your interests, at all levels of government from your local community to your county/parish, to your state and then to Washington D.C.  Tell them what you think, what you want, and what your concerns are.
  3. Teach your kids to value their responsibilities and rights as a citizen of the country.
  4. Vote…in each and every election, without excuses.  It’s important!
  5. Support the candidates of  your choice, not just with campaign donations but with some of  your time too.
  6. Be involved in the political process, whether its grass roots or bigger.  It might be petitions, it might be canvassing  your neighborhood.
  7. Encourage others to get involved too.
  8. Pay attention, it’s the cheapest bill you’ll ever pay!

Politics aren’t worth literally fighting about, but the political process is how we can fight for our rights and what is right.  It’s how we can go about changing unjust laws into just ones.  It’s about creating real change, not just flapping our lips about it.  Our forefathers put this process into place for us to use, and we need to learn to use it just like we learned to ride a bicycle.  We need to ensure that our children learn to use it too.  Our votes DO make a difference!

 

 

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