Hold’em Accountable

Posted by: eric on September 9, 2009 at 4:46 pm

The summer has come to an end and so has the infamous townhall meetings on Health Care.  Now more than ever we see that It’s not enough merely to vote. Democracy requires our participation more frequently than once every year or two. As citizens, we need to stay involved in the workings of government on a year-round basis, making both elected officials and administrative appointees aware of our needs and wishes, and holding them accountable for delivering.

Keeping up the pressure on those who represent and serve us in government involves several specific strategies. It means staying informed—periodically checking up on what your governor, state legislator, U.S. senator, representative, and other key officials have been doing. It means questioning their actions and motives—looking behind the speeches and the press releases to ask, “Who benefits from this piece of legislation or that policy initiative—the citizens or the special interest  groups?”

It means attending public meetings and forums where you’ll have a chance to question officials face-to-face, and coming prepared with a couple of tough but fair and specific challenges you expect them to answer. It means sharing your ideas and concerns with your fellow citizens via letters to the editor and simple word-of-mouth. It means writing letters, sending emails, placing phone calls, and even organizing petition drives when you have a program or policy you want to see enacted.

Of course, in the end, you always have the ultimate recourse: to vote out of office those who refuse or fail to carry out the people’s mandate.

It’s sad to say, but when the Millennial agenda rises to the forefront of the national debate, there will be plenty of people who oppose it— for reasons of ideology, self-interest, or just plain stubbornness. Some will be those in office. They have a right to their opinions. But they don’t have the right to claim to represent you. You’ll need to fight—peacefully—the enemies of progress with everything you have.

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