December 2008

With the election over, it's time to get to work

By Galen Larson

The elections are over and soon we will see the changing of the guard. Fifty thousand or more are vying for seats to see the presidential inauguration, a great moment in history.

But how many of these supposedly dedicated voters will continue to be involved? They have done their duty; they voted, and it will all be for naught if they don’t keep working.

Most people know very little about the candidates they voted for, just what tidbits could be garnered from the corporate news media. This nation is supposed to be of the people and by the people, and yet every two years we see fit to turn it over to persons very few know anything about.

The work you put into getting your candidate elected is only one-quarter of it. Now the real work begins. Whether your candidate won or lost, you must stay involved. Write them, email them, call them, annoy them — but get your facts right — they never do. Attend meetings when your congressperson comes to your neighborhood. Go to your local politicians, write letters to the editor, write columns in the Free Press.

Just because you supported a candidate who won doesn’t mean he or she doesn’t need your input aftr the election. Find out who your precinct captains are and attend your party’s meetings, whether you are Democrat, Republican, or Green — if you’re independent, attend them all.

Remember, it is we the people who put the politicians in office to do our bidding, not some self-centered lobbyist. Don’t be afraid to discuss anything with them; remember, they are our employees, not kings and princes. They don’t have all the answers or even the questions. Don’t listen to that old rhetoric that government is too big; we are the government, 300 million strong.

The decisions we help them make now may not affect us immediately, but they will affect the future of your children and grandchildren and if that doesn’t concern you, then you really don’t care much about your children.

We must not continue to let just a few run our great nation when the real wheels of this country are we the people. It really is not a hard task; in fact, it can be fun and rewarding to just attend a meeting once a month and speak your piece, no matter how silly it may sound. There are no stupid questions, just dumb answers.

I, for one, would have preferred our national anthem be “America the Beautiful,” but I still get tears in my eyes when the flag goes by and the “Star-Spangled Banner” is sung. Ben Franklin wanted the turkey to be our national bird and maybe he had foresight; the turkey is stupid. The eagle, however, won out, a brazen bird, a majestic bird, and a bird who will defend his mate and territory. We are the eagles that can make the difference, not the turkeys we elect.

It is up to you. If one settles for second- rate we will never be great. One sees what can happen when we are not informed — just remember the last eight years, when we gave an idiot carte blanche to run this nation. On the other hand, he was true to his word, he took care of his friends: the oil cartels and corporations. This should be a lesson to all: Don’t depend on your candidate to do the right thing once elected.

As for our newly chosen leader, don’t expect too much. He will not be able to do it alone; he will need everyone’s help.

Our men and women in uniform fight for our right to vote. They don’t quit after one battle is won or lost, they continue to the next and resolve to do better. We owe them the same.

Don’t let them down by choosing not to become involved. See you at a meeting around town!

Galen Larson writes from rural Montezuma County, Colo.