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It's January, Do You Know Enough?

by Lisa Diggs on Jan 26th 2010

Those who know me well, know that I rarely talk about politics in a public forum.  Humorously enough, despite that, many people think they know my thoughts on a variety of political issues, without ever having heard me express my point of view.   

For the record, it's not that I don't have passionate views with regard to the issues of the day, but rather that I defer to an internal code that guides me with the simple quesiton "What's the value?"  That is to say, what is to be gained or lost by engaging in this discussion at this particular time?  After all, one need only turn on the Sunday morning shows or an episode of The View, to realize that people spend more of their time talking than listening when it comes to political discussions, and often at the cost of a valuable relationship or broader understanding.

Yet today, I am drawn toward speaking of politics publicly.  My intention is not to share my personal views on an issue, but instead to weigh in on the politics of politics itself.  After all, this is January of an election year.  That means a few predictable things lie ahead...incredibly annoying advertising, fruitless arguments, personal agendas, and months of elected officials spending far more time trying to earn the right to govern, than doing any actual governing.   

You know what else is in front of each of us?  Months of time.  Time to educate ourselves on issues, time to explore candidates, time to register to vote.  Yes, I know, we are all incredibly busy with the everday responsibilities of life.  Yet, isn't there time for one of the most extraordinary responsibilities of life?  Life in America, that is.

There is one place in which you do not have to yell to be heard, or filter what you think, and it's called a voting booth.  The incredibly wise and brave team of patriots that crafted our Constitution, found the time to make it possible for us to have our own indivdual voices.  Many have died since then, and sadly even this year, to give us this most amazing right and responsibility, and yet so few people actually do it. 

One of the most common reasons for otherwise conscientious citizens not to vote is an assertion that they do not know enough about a particular issue or race to cast a ballot. 

I once even had a would-be elected official assure me: "If I do not know enough about a particular issue, I promise you I won't vote."  What?  My ears must not be working, because I could have sworn I just heard you campaign on the idea that a vote for you would mean no voice for me on any number of issues.  He did not get my vote. 

The problem with our political system is not just the same old players making the same old mistakes.  The biggest barrier is that too many of our MVPs sit on the bench.

Do you know who represents you now?  Do you know what they are fighting for, or against?  Do you know where you stand on the issues of the day?  Do you know what you want them to fight for or against?  If not, you are not alone.  I have many unanswered questions too, but there is good news...  

It's January.  There are many months ahead.  What could we each know by November that we don't know now?  What are we willing to sacrifice?  For me, it is a little extra time and effort, but certainly not my voice.  Join me, won't you?  There is much work to be done in our nation and in our neighborhoods.  Now is not the time to sit idly by.  Then again, what is?


User Comments (3)

Bravo, Lisa! Now, more than ever, "We, the people" need to step up to the responsibility of choosing congressmen/women and representatives that truly speak for us. With this latest Supreme Court ruling allowing Corporations unrestrained contributions to political campaigns, "we, the people" will also have to vote with our pocketbooks.
This blog is fantastic. I missed the last major election because I wasn't old enough to vote, so I'm registering to vote next time I'm home from school and I plan on educating myself on all of the issues. I think you expressed what a lot of people are feeling. We all need to take the responsibility of educating ourselves and voting this year, especially if we want a brighter future for Michigan!
A great column that many Michiganders should read. Yes, the trouble lies in the fact that people have not educated themselves enough. I think many would be shocked to find that so many voters go into the booth not knowing who or what they are to vote for, so they select a name only because it sounds familiar. Read up, folks - know what you are voting for. It surely is worth the time and effort.

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