Posted in Politics, SocialMedia, Uncategorized

State of the Nation: Public Service, Politics and Social Media

Regardless of your personality type, religious background, nationality, gender, sexual preference, political leaning or income level, you are first a human being.  If you’re in this country, benefiting from a democratically organized and administered society (legally or undocumented) … you are still a human first–deserving of respect!

humanrights-tweet

As a citizen, defined by Merriam-Webster as:  “a native or naturalized person who owes allegiance to a government and is entitled to protection from it”, there is an inherent obligation by each citizen to be a loyal participant of that society, its laws, and the practices of administering it’s “govern”-ment.  Government is defined as:  “a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections.”  Our system is set up to allow both federally through elections, and locally through legislatures, councils, boards, and committees.

It is unfortunate how few people vote in our country when so much is at stake.  What I find even more appalling is how many people choose to get their information for decision-making from unsupported claims posted on social media outlets, hot-heads on talk-radio, and biased daily news shows.

How can YOU participate and be an active contributing citizen of our society?

Before new Federal laws are implemented, they are posted for public review and comment by anyone with access to a web browser (which is everyone, because public libraries have computer labs.)  If you’ve never visited the site–it can be found at https://www.federalregister.gov/   No excuses for any of us to complain that we never had a say (for or against) legislation that has become law.

Every state has a website to make public the issues and legislation being proposed.  In my own state that site is:  http://nebraskalegislature.gov/  Google your state name and the word Legislature to find your state government’s administrative resources.  My state has a link to live-streaming of legislative sessions.  You can search for your congress or senate representatives, schedule an appointment to take a tour, view the legislative calendar, view past transcripts,  or find telephone numbers to speak with your representatives.

Of course there is always traditional media (Fox, CNN, MSNBC, BBCNews and the other major news networks) to help you evaluate elected officials backgrounds and attempt understanding the issues being discussed.  But as you may realize, there is a LOT of spin on what is being presented as “truth” (sound bites pieced together to lead you to believe something shocking–yet totally out of context).  You also should not be duped into believing everything you read.  If you want to be an informed citizen and vote by fact, not feeling…here are a couple of other sites you might consider:

https://www.govtrack.us/ (Federal)
http://www.voterinformation.org/ (Nebraska local) – Your state may have a similar site.

November 8th is right around the corner.  Depending upon what news you read, you just might believe that the world is going to hell in a hand basket.  There is a lot wrong in our government, but it is still a lot better than most governments.  There is always room for improvement, but it requires we be engaged, aware, involved, actively participating in this democracy.

Just because you hopefully voted during the last election cycle does not mean your job as a citizen is done.  You must observe your government in action and participate in this democracy to make it work for you.  If you don’t approve of local, state or federal decisions, use the processes put in place for you to engage and make your voice heard.  The links provided in this post are a starting point.

If you do not like the current state of government at the state or federal level, you have a right…no, a responsibility, to get involved and contribute.  Regardless of what you think of her, Elizabeth Warren said it best, “a constitution does not sustain itself.”  Prove your loyalty to this great nation, educate yourself and get involved.

Posted in Education, Relationships, Writing

What We Leave Behind They Inherit

The western front of the United States Capitol...
Image via Wikipedia

This afternoon on our way back from my 16 year old daughter’s Inter Generation Orchestra practice, she asked a very unsettling question.  I must paraphrase due to the scrambling my mind was doing because of the feelings of surprise at such a question.  “Doesn’t anybody (adults & elected officials) care about the impact of their choices and the job they are doing?”  She was referring to her future, her sister’s future, and the future of all her peers and those who will follow.

One of the benefits of schooling children at home (or supplementing public school education) is the depth of study and discourse you can engage with the student.  Our three children have been schooled at home since kindergarten.  My 16 year olds are studying Latin, Spanish, English, Science/Biology, World History, Civics, Saxon Math (Algebra), Logic, Critical Thinking, Creating Writing, Music, Drama, as well as numerous other self-study topics (Poetry, Art, and Classic Literature).  They have easily surpassed me in the number of books read, composers studied, instruments played, and stories written.  The result is well-rounded, alert minds that let nothing slip through their reasoning filters.

A little more context before I address my response/reaction to her question.  The backdrop for this interchange is:

  • Anniversary of 9/11
  • Struggling American economy
  • U.S. unemployment at 9.1 percent
  • Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid Programs sustainability in question
  • Potential for a repeat circus on Capitol Hill regarding the Debt Deal
  • A politically charged/divided House and Senate more focused on party for party’s sake
  • Drama of upcoming Presidential Election Campaign
  • Waning Consumer Confidence
  • Bipolar Stock Markets
  • Questions about the safety of Nuclear Energy
  • Hurricanes, Floods, Fires, Earthquakes

I could go on but it would only depress you.  Needless to say, our teenagers across the nation are steps away from taking their place at the ballot boxes, finding their place (careers) in the world, and starting families of their own in an uncertain future.

My wonder at her question comes from the reality of the question.  Everything we “adults” do (based upon our thoughts/feelings and choices) has a consequence.  Those consequences not only visit us, but ripple to all generations that follow…like outwardly expanding rings on a pond after throwing a pebble.  Basically, it starts with you, me, and the people we elected to help administer and govern our rights and freedoms as Americans!  Our children didn’t have any choice about their entry into this world.  We chose them!  With those choices come great responsibilities that never expire.  We are examples to them and each other.  Our actions say much more about our values, principles, humanity, and respect than any label we may adopt or profess.

As parents, bosses, elected officials, friends….when you make a choice, do you ask yourself “What impact will this decision have upon my children, this culture or our way of life, and the subsequent choices necessary by those who follow in my footsteps?”  Perhaps, if we all spent a little more time taking inventory of how well we are executing our responsibilities, we might be more inclined/motivated to judge ourselves and make better choices with the time and resources gifted to us.  None of us are guaranteed longevity, and as misfortune would have it, today is an awful reminder that “the American Dream” isn’t promised to any of us, it must be earned, worked for, valued and protected.  Even then, there are those who would deny us our way of life.  We must be vigilantly mindful that all eyes are watching!  What we do and say matters!

The daily rate of change across the globe, the influence between cultures, economy, dependency and cooperation is exponential.  As biology teaches us, those who adapt quickly in states of rapid transformation are those who remain.  We must value our children as individuals who have thoughts, feelings, ideas, opinions and will someday be carrying our burdens and cleaning up our messes.  Invite your child to talk to you about how they feel about the world, their future, their opportunities.

My daughter feels very frustrated with her observations of our current political climate.  I encouraged her to do something about it.  If you’re a teenager and you’re reading this, I encourage you to not wait until you’re eighteen to begin exercising your rights as a U.S. Citizen.  Start now, write your Congress and Senate Representatives and let them know your concerns.