I received an email tonight from a long-time internet friend. Granted, our political views usually differ greatly, and I typically ignore everything he sends me. Occasionally, I draw some kind of feeling from them. Tonight it was frustration, an extension of a discussion I had with Kelly earlier today. Here is the email:
“He is now President and the Bible says to pray for our leaders.”
This was so true!
CIVICS 101 3rd GRADE
From a teacher in the Nashville area
We are worried about “the cow” when it is all about the “Ice Cream”
The most eye-opening civics lesson I ever had was while teaching third grade this year. The presidential election was heating up and some of the children showed an interest. I decided we would have an election for a class president.
We would choose our nominees. They would make a campaign speech and the class would vote.
To simplify the process, candidates were nominated by other class members. We discussed what kinds of characteristics these students should have. We got many nominations and from those, Jamie and Olivia were picked to run for the top spot.
The class had done a great job in their selections. Both candidates were good kids. I thought Jamie might have an advantage because he got lots of parental support. I had never seen Olivia’s mother.
The day arrived when they were to make their speeches Jamie went first. He had specific ideas about how to make our class a better place. He ended by promising to do his very best. Every one applauded. He sat down and Olivia came to the podium.
Her speech was concise. She said, “If you will vote for me, I will give you ice cream.” She sat down. The class went wild. “Yes! Yes! We want ice cream.”
She surely would say more. She did not have to. A discussion followed. How did she plan to pay for the ice cream? She wasn’t sure. Would her parents buy it or would the class pay for it. She didn’t know. The class really didn’t care. All they were thinking about was ice cream.
Jamie was forgotten. Olivia won by a land slide.
Every time Barack Obama opens his mouth he offers ice cream, fifty percent of the people react like nine year olds. They want ice cream. The other fifty percent know they’re going to have to feed the cow and clean up the mess.
So.. now I’m aware I’m being a little hypocritical posting this on the interwebs, but I’ve also addressed him directly and I’m going to publish exactly what I said. Here goes:
The inherent problem with politics is that there are always going to be offers of ice cream, and there is always going to be a need for someone to pay for it. We’ll also be complaining at the cost of the broccolli when it is so desperately needed in the people as well, saying that it doesn’t taste good, irrelevant of the health benefits. Some people are worried about the flavor of the ice cream, and will only support it if it is chocolate, and others will only support if it is vanilla. Some will quote the cost of the ice cream without tax added in order to make it sound more lucrative. Others will attack the ice-cream people, claiming they have backgrounds in the wrong fields and don’t know anything about providing such frozen dairy products.
What is worse is when people lie to others, and claim a politician is offering yoghurt or cheese instead, and instead of actually doing some useful complaining, they make petty emails with bad analogies and forward them to everyone in their address books.
See, this is a democratic country, and while it may be more fun to spread rumor or sow seeds of doubt in the minds of the people, it would be more productive to write to those in power and exercise the democratic rights that residents and citizens hold by telling them what their subjects think and want of them. We can complain to each other all we like, but it’s spitting in the wind unless the right people hear it. This is precisely how minority groups come across as majorities, because their people write to newspapers, they write to senators and congressmen, and they get the laws changed in their favor. The majority, on the other hand, sit back and write emails to each other complaining about the other side, how silly or stupid they are, and complain further when ‘the other side’ makes progress in government, wondering how something like that could ever happen.
I’m told that every letter written to a newspaper or a government official represents the views of roughly 10,000 other people who weren’t prepared to write for one reason or another. In a country such as this, your opinion is only worth the time you take to voice it to the right people, and convincing like-minded people to do the same. Instead of relishing in the freedom you have to bash government among friends, it would be a more intelligent thing to do to relish the freedom you have to convince your representatives in government to reflect your views among their peers, to do your part in making democracy work. It shouldn’t end at the voting booth, and if you disagree with decisions being made by government, pick up a pen and a pad, and write to those in power to voice your complaints. If you can’t do something so simple as writing a letter, you don’t deserve to complain when decisions are made against your views. Then again, if you don’t like it, you’re free to leave 😉
Let me explain myself.. In this case it isn’t so much that I disagree with the anti-Obama statements – I don’t really have much of an opinion anymore. What I have a problem with is when people think that forwarding anti-[insertgrouporindividual] emails around their friends is being productive and actually changes anything. Heres a wake-up call: It doesn’t. If you want to change a church, talk to the pastor. If you want to change a classroom, talk to a teacher. If you want to change a store, talk to the manager. It only makes logical sense that if you want to change government that you talk to a government representative. Yes, this is America, governed by the people for the people – but telling Joe the Plumber about your problems with government is going to fix them about as well as telling a brick wall. If you can forward an email with your complaints, you can write a letter to your senator. You can copy that letter and send it to your congressman. You can copy it a second time and send it to your local newspaper. If you have a problem with the way the government is governing you have three choices: You can talk to them and argue your points, you can move to a country that has views you agree with, or you can do nothing and live with it. And forwarding emails around with silly analogies is about equivalent to the last option. Let me be blunt. If you can’t be bothered complaining to the right people, you don’t deserve to be listened to by anyone.