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Chatterbox: Reining in the reign


Americans today are politically aware or active, outspoken, perhaps even rabid, and most of us also are members of certain groups where politics just never factors in.

That’s good. We all need a safe zone. Somehow, though, we all have those friends who go through all of life in the safe zone, avoiding everything going on around them. They are champions at letting the chips fall where they may, as they roll along, seemingly unaware of the precarious position we’re all in.

Many of us have learned the value of the phrase, “Think globally; Act locally.” Maybe that’s what’s happening when it appears to us on the outside of others’ circles that nothing is happening. If that’s the case – great. If it isn’t, it’s not a crime. Where the laissez-faire bumper sticker quips are born we don’t know, but we certainly have permission to do what makes us comfortable, even if that means doing nothing. Those who can manage to walk through life keeping the world’s major issues off their radar may be peaceful or just lucky, but they aren’t part of the solution.

As we travel through life, though, whether we react to it, act upon it, try to improve it, or seemingly forget it and move on, we are exposed to what people are doing and what that creates. Occasionally, we are forced to deal with it, no matter how unwillingly. Occasionally, we’re all also forced to take a hiatus from it as well. Aware or complacent, almost everyone must learn to cope, but that adapting doesn’t always mean making the best of things. Sometimes, it means standing up and screaming in the middle of perfected complacency.

No one can participate in life in any realm of the real world and not get an education outside of school. From childhood to childrearing and grand-parenting, life teaches us a lot. More of it than we would like is stuff we either didn’t need to know or stuff we didn’t ever want to know. What we do with it all, what we ignore, what starts a fire in our soul, what we move past, improve or expand on, or just pass up, is the epitaph we leave on our headstone.

Right now, though, we are in a place the likes of which most of us have never known. It’s confusing and, unfortunately, potentially dangerous. We can be part of the solution, or make no waves at all but, we must remember, complacency is part of the problem.

Anyone thinking that there have been times in America that were worse, you are quite right. Anyone thinking that there have been times in America that were better, you are, also, right. Anyone thinking that there have been other times in America, whether things were better or worse, when our leadership was not working for its people’s benefit, you, too, are right. Never, though, has our leadership been this overtly out of our control and without decorum.

When Agnew was taking payoffs right in his White House Office, obviously, he was not working for the people. When Nixon tried to cover up Watergate, when Reagan broke the unions and began the dissolution of the governing of monopolies, these things were clearly done to the defined effect of corporate gain, not for the benefit of the people. These activities and their goals, however, were either carried out covertly, intended to remain unclear, were packaged and sold as something else, or were some combination of these things. None of those leaders worked as impulsively or were as overtly indignant as ours are today. None openly flaunted infractions in direct defiance of the Constitutional obligations of their elected positions.

What about us, though? What have the American people done, what are we doing or not doing, demanding or accepting, that allows our government leaders to reign with such flagrant assumptions of impunity, ignoring their long pre-determined duties? It seems we can’t even make them feel enough pressure to feel obligated to fake some level of compliance to duty or to make them huddle under cover.

It is crystal clear that, somehow, we have made it acceptable for our elected leaders to openly pursue personal gain, be solicitors for increasing corporate power, use bully politics liberally, explain little, and avoid direct answers to anyone seeking them. We must have, somehow, sanctified this behavior at the cost of America’s foundation being disassembled as well.

Action may not be for everyone, but the impact of inaction will be.