I think it is good thing to ask questions of our leaders, but I doubt it will help much bringing clarity as to why our nation is in trouble, on so many fronts. For starters, we live in a country politically divided, perhaps as never before. The constant friction within our government keeps forward motion and progress impeded.
Most people I know are feeling totally powerless to bring about change, or unification, or having any way to influence the course of our own future.
But that was another era.
Now, 2011, we just gripe to one another. We can see the results of global warming, the natural disasters coming like never before, the energy crisis, job losses, the real estate market, rising costs for health care, food and gas, unfair tax divisions, our involvement in wars we can never win, and more. So we complain. That is all it seems we can do.
There is some comic relief from all of this as we find amusement each time another of our celebrity/heroes falls from grace. Having abused their power and their need for sexual gratification, they inevitably get caught and bring disgrace upon themselves. It makes for great gossip, but no surprise.
I recently heard the progressive radio talk show host, Thom Hartmann, interview a man who gives seminars about getting involved in local government. This activist was proud to be the second generation in a family who were taking responsibility and stepping up as leaders of their hometown.
Hartmann asked why he thought too few had any interest in local politics. His answer gave me pause as he pointed out most of us are only too happy to anesthetize ourselves with distractions. He mentioned the technology, the instant messaging keeping us busy. He also pointed out most people stay at home as much as possible, becoming addicted to the soaps, reality tv, and the talent shows.
I could relate to what he was saying for I too am guilty of using distractions to better ignore or forget what is going on, in the real world. I confess to numbing myself by playing computer scrabble or occasionally watching a reality show. If one does not put up strong resistance, it is easy to become totally involved in someone else’s life. Whether the story line is they are trying to loose weight or find their one and only mate, it feels so real.
I also admit to lately being a bit caught up in “Dancing with the Stars” and “American Idol”. Surprisingly I found I cared about who had to leave the show, who moved forward and who won the contest, week after week of watching. Although I did not go so far as to caste my vote, amazingly the figure was a record-breaking 122.4 million votes counted for the final Idol show. That is a lot of folks sitting in front of their television and caring enough to take some action in picking the winner.
What if there was a call-in show and we could vote for the issues that determine the quality of our lives? What if we really were a government for and by the people? What if, just as the majority of viewers spoke in choosing seventeen year old Scotty to be designated our “America’s Idol”, what if our voice through our vote could be caste for something that mattered? And what if after the votes were counted, we could see timely action on the part of our leaders to give us what the majority wants?
I don’t have the answers but I do care enough to question and wonder why we, the people, are not able to do more than ignore or just mutter about what is happening all around us and to us.
When is enough, enough?