Sometimes I wonder if I post too much. Occasionally, I will apologize for sending my links around because I don’t want my views to become a pain to my friends, although I have no qualms about being forward with those who generally oppose my ideas.
I don’t mean to be belligerent, but “life” for a post sort of begins with discord and debate; but I don’t want to become a broken record to those who generally favor my views and become tuned out as noise.
I’ve noticed, however, that Gary Has Issues has been growing in readership and that compels me to keep going. There is a back-end analytics page with Word Press that shows me where readers are coming from and how many. Don’t fear 1st, 3rd, 4th, and 5th Amendment enthusiasts- there is no analytic tool that shows an email address, town or even state where a reader comes from, only the country and how many times a country “clicked” the link.
This tool shows me that I consistently draw numbers from the United States, but also new readers (non-spam) from Ireland, England, Germany, Russia, Australia, India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Mexico, Venezuela, Canada, and just today- New Zealand (Welcome Kiwi friends- I hope you don’t go bush if you get knackered when I rack off)!
My point is that I believe debate and the airing of views is vital to the survival of a Republic. However, I must confess to a prejudicial judgment that I find myself making fairly often. When someone tells me, “I don’t watch the news anymore, it’s too depressing,” or says, “Politicians are all crooks and so I don’t care anymore!” I conclude that they are masking apathy and justifying it with an artificial plea for integrity.
Kind of harsh, I know. But I think I’m right. Everything we do or have (with the exception of love), from where our kids go to school to the roads we drive to work, to the taxes we pay, the potholes that are filled or the location of the sewer drains, the safety of our neighborhoods and our nation and the information we receive online, on television, radio and in print, are all part of the political matrix that surrounds us.
It is inconceivable to me that any conscious human being, who has access to news and the ability to participate, would not choose to be involved. That doesn’t mean by a cosmic mile that everyone should be as active or vocal as I, and others, choose to be, or even close, but awareness of our socio-political reality is as necessary to survival as the air we breathe.
It’s a paradox, to be sure. Our individual liberty gives us the right to not participate. We don’t have to vote. Freedom of Speech also means the freedom not to speak. Protection of our privacy includes the protection of our thoughts. We have the right to replace “caring” with the confusion that can lead to disengagement.
Most people are, and should be, more concerned about their son’s grades, who’s coming to the barbeque, and whether they’ll get a raise. Or…whether they’ll get a job, or if Grandpa will make it to morning, or if there will be enough food on the table tonight.
I’m not being flippant; our concerns over the matters which constitute our lives are the priorities we should choose, but participation in politics is essential to our freedom. We can give it at least as much attention as we do to a traffic light to determine when to cross.
Our Founding Fathers wrote a charter to define a representative Democracy in order to secure liberty and justice without prejudice. The blood that gives life to the body of this Republic is an informed electorate. In the words of Thomas Jefferson, “Whenever the people are well informed they can be trusted with their own government.”
The reverse implication of Jefferson’s wisdom is equally persuasive, however; if people are not well informed, they cannot be trusted. Being informed demands political awareness and that is the only thing that stands in the way of tyranny.
So…if we care about freedom; the freedom that allows us to debate and participate to whatever degree we choose…we must care about politics. It’s the only game in town.