Launching our “2020: The Year of the Citizen” blog is this submission from Hugh Orr.
Norman Rockwell (1894-1978), “Freedom of Speech,” 1943. Oil on canvas, 45 3/4″ x 35 1/2″. Story illustration for “The Saturday Evening Post,” February 20, 1943. Norman Rockwell Museum Collections. ©SEPS: Curtis Publishing, Indianapolis, IN.
Mr. or Mrs. Politician, too many of you seem to feel that the trust and honor we place in you somehow makes you a “step above” those who elected you. That you now are some kind of new American royalty or what I call the political royalty class. That you are to be treated special and often experience privileges and financial gain without question, because of your position. This is not to say we should not honor your service to our community, state or country. Rather it is to reinforce who pays your salary, and what are our expectations.
It seems that currently a “mere” citizen should not deign to have the audacity to question you. After all, don’t we know who you are?
Worse still, we see members of the Democrat party openly show disdain and hostility for citizens that have different views. It is like once in office, those that did not vote for you, or have different views do not deserve your attention or best effort. That you are merely in office to serve your party and those who voted for you and not the district or region that you represent. Ultimately somehow what is best for those you represent is less important than your party affiliation and getting reelected.
As citizens we are not blameless in the current mess in our country that has created this political environment. The costs for re election ensure that there will be strings attached. The ever increasing demands of more services, more government by an ever less self-disciplined and disconnected populace makes governing more difficult, complex, and subject to corruption.
We, the people, seem to think our government functions on auto pilot. We vote. You get in office. “Now I’m busy with my life, don’t bother me until I want something or want to complain.” Too often we seem to think our function as citizens is to just enjoy all the privileges our system of governing provides while forgetting that we have responsibilities as well.
Our country is currently at a great crossroads in our history. There are political and social issues under debate that define our country’s and our children’s future. It is ultimately up to us, the citizens of this great country, to step up and raise our expectations, reevaluate choices, establish realistic fixes, and, like our Founding Fathers, reestablish something bigger and more endurable than ourselves.