So, the mid-term elections are over.
If you voted, I salute you.
If you didn't vote because of a registration screw up and are upset, (as a young friend of mine was today) please calm yourself; you tried, someone else screwed up. If you didn't vote because you're sick, get well. I know you'll vote the next time.
If, as at least one dear friend of mine did, you voted although you despised most of the choices and (maybe) think it (maybe) would have been better not to vote, but you still went ahead and voted? You have no idea how much I love you for doing that. And y'all know who you are, and I think you're a patriot, even if that sounds cheesy.
If you're angry about the outcome, I urge you to go over and read akirlu 's succinctly brilliant piece, and consider passing it along to the folks she references. She says it better than I could. Read it; I think you'll agree.
If you didn't vote because (and I am changing this quote only slightly because it was a young person speaking and perhaps this young person will grow up and be horrified at what got said by an earlier self) "... government is always an enemy of liberty ... I'm supposed to be happy about the whole thing and bleat piously about it? I'll maintain what dignity I have, thank you. Being alienated and pissed off is an excellent condition, you see things clearly ... I like voluntary institutions. Family, community, the media, charitable institutions, the arts, free trade ..."
Oh, hell. I was going to point and laugh at the risibility and self-contradictory ignorance of that comment. But that wouldn't solve the problem, or change your mind.
I know you have the right not to vote. I know you have the right to bitch without voting. I'll fight for your right to bitch, even if emotionally I tend to side with people who say "If you don't vote, don't bitch." Because they're probably wrong about that. It's a right, or at least a hell of a lot more than just a privilege.
But for fuck sake, stop being clever and lazy. Try for wisdom and hard work instead.
Yes, representative democracy doesn't work the way we want to a lot of the time. Yes, I admit that its workings can be, and are, daily twisted around and used wrongly. Yes, that's wrong. And, yes, making laws and making sure they are enacted right, and voting in every election - or running for election - so that we can fix the laws or get rid of them and enact better ones, is hard work. And yes, democracy involves winning rarely and losing a lot. And yes, we run the risk that we'll let government get away from us. Yes, we run the risk of forgetting that we are, in fact, the government.
Yes, all that is true. Because we are humans, and if you put three of us humans in a room together, we will inevitably disagree with each other about how to run the next five minutes.
And here we are, here in these United States, 300 plus million of us, with what seems like 400 plus million agendas, all trying to work together via checks and balances and laws and agreements, each and every check and balance and law and agreement simply begging to be manipulated by liars and carpetbaggers and greedheads.*
It's crazy, I know.
But consider this: what house is built without plans? What language without a grammar? What art without tools? What love without understandings?
Government isn't evil. Government isn't "them." Government is us, trying to work out a way to build our house, to care for the weakest among us and encourage the best among us - even when everyone in the country doesn't agree with us, or have the same plumbing, skin shade, gender identification, belief in or contempt for deity as us; even when they don't like the same sports teams, or go to our synagogue, or believe in the Rapture, or surf, or dislike house beats or Catcher in the Rye, or love skiffy. Even when we don't read the same books, or give to the same charities, or believe in the same causes.
And it sucks to have to agree with people like that. Because obviously we're right, and they're wrong. And it's all so unfair and dirty.
But not all the time, and not if you're willing to get your hands dirty; it's not dirt, damn it, it's earth, and we spring from it, and it grows the things we need. Pick up a rake or a trowel. Get to work.
*Other countries, larger or smaller, who are working on this representative government-type democracy thing? They all have the same challenge, because ... human ... three in a room, lather, rinse, repeat.