Three Things to Do Before Complaining about Your Government

photo_101808_025There is probably nothing that grates on my social conscience more than smart people who are anti-government. I don’t mean people who’ve got legitimate problems with politics and policy, but rather the “government can’t do anything right” and “drown government in the bathtub” crowds.

For purposes of this brief argument, I’m going to stay away from my beliefs about the essential nature of government. The point of this post is a rebuttal to blanket critics. And whether you agree at all with my “why” at all, I think you’ll agree this: we live in a democracy, and if you’re reading this from the U.S., you’re responsible for the current state of affairs.

“Wait a minute,” you say, “I voted for the other guy!” Or, “The Democrats are always naysaying everything!” But if that’s your argument, you’d better be ashamed of yourself. Most of us live in extreme entitlement, and even our wars are far removed from active involvement in our own national progress. The simple truth is that far, far too few of us know or care what is going on in our names, and those of us who do pay attention, rarely take the time to do anything about it.

The reasons and excuses for inaction among those who know better are many. I don’t have time. It won’t matter. I used to get involved but I had a bad experience. I might get fired. Those have some truth to them, but they are not justifications. Every time there is a problem in our home, our church, our neighborhood, do we complain, or do we take responsibility? Because what is a home, what is a church, a neighborhood, a country but a collection of us?

On the national scene, the recent financial bailout did wake a lot of us to action. It also created a template for citizen action that can and should be repeated. Here are three things you can do:

Educate yourself. There is no longer any excuse for not knowing how to get involved. If you don’t know what RSS is, you can simply set up a Google News alert to notify you when a story in your area of interest comes along. There are also many new direct democracy sites, like You2Gov, springing up to help you.

Join Facebook. It is simply the easiest platform for sharing and collaborating on matters of importance.

Call your congressperson. The numbers are easy to find, and yes, someone will answer the phone (even during a firestorm like the bailout).

Next time you think about complaining about the government, remember, you’re part of it. Do something.

4 thoughts on “Three Things to Do Before Complaining about Your Government

  1. Adriel – Thank you so much for including You2Gov in your blog posting. You can actually call your Congressman and Senator (as a registered user) right from the You2Gov site. This includes all Members of Congress, the White House, all 50 Legislatures and Governors too. We feel that the most important part is to start. Just like setting up a Twitter account or Facebook account, now is the time to take your social networking skills and make them work for your civic life.

    Alan W. Silberberg
    CEO
    You2Gov
    @you2gov – twitter

  2. I couldn’t agree more!

    It really does lie with individual citizens to make an effort to connect with others that hold similar views and make their voices heard on a grand scale while maintaining conversations with those who might disagree!

    I think it’s great that you mention facebook as a way to connect for political and other types of activism. It’s exciting to see how social media is growing and how people find new positive ways to use it every day!

    Seth

  3. Thanks for the information you posted! I must say I am one of the few people who are ever-ready to point the finger at my government – not because I am anti-government, anyone would if they found certain things (of the govt) to be of “double-standards” or anything that’s unethical. I do think before I post or comment on the internet.

    So far at least One “labour law” in Singapore has changed for the benefits of those are who aren’t domestic or construction workers. I am very pleased with the new labour law even when it’s 4 months too late to protect me.

    There are however, some people who not only want to resolve an issue, but they want people to know and to be able to keep track of how they are dealing with a “government issue”.

    For example, recently our Singapore Tan Kin Lian wrote a plea for banks to be more understanding and to be more courteous and ethical enough to own up to their faults (the fault of which was recommending a Bond or financial product without full disclosure nor without fully revealing the products’ risks).

    If you have something negative to say of your govt, one can encourage ppl to understand the issue at hand instead of making others want to “drown out the government”. There should be some balance I think because negativeness can infect and cause a lot of harm too.

    What governments can do is to be more aware of what’s being said or feedback of them online, and to respond diplomatically – Obama is already doing that but Singapore needs to buck up in this area! 😉

  4. Pingback: A Jilted Lover: My Evolving Feelings Towards Facebook « Adriel Hampton: Wired to Share

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