Wednesday, January 23, 2013

A Southern Girl's Response To Politics

I grew up "right"
Raised in Georgia, eating vegetables grown from our garden, playing barefoot outside till after dark, catching lightning bugs (aka fireflies). Watching the Braves play on TBS. And every fall, SEC football. SEC football in the south has been described as more a religion than a sport. It's a way of life. Cheering your favorite team, smack talk, rivalries. The joy of victory, the agony of defeat.

As a UGA fan, I'm obligated to hate GA Tech, Auburn, the Florida Gators and Tennessee Volunteers. I'm not sure's just the way it is. There are historical stories that define the rivalries but they make as little sense as the Hatfields and McCoys. It doesn't matter why, it's just the way it is.

And, with the exception of those who take it too far, it's fun.

As long as it's sports.

What happens when we have the same mentality in Congress?

Democrats versus Republicans. Favorite teams, smack talk, rivalries, competition.
The truth is these days, our government is more about factions than government. If something goes wrong, point fingers. Congress can't get anything done because they can't let go of the need to win. They are more worried about protecting their position than compromise. More concerned with keeping lobbyist and big businesses happy than solving problems. Because they need funding for reelections. Because they have lost sight of what is more important.

This year it has become more apparent than ever. Congress knew for months that the fiscal cliff was looming and did nothing. And when we were about to fall over, made a half hearted attempt to "solve" the problem while blaming the other side for the problem itself. In truth, it doesn't matter whose fault it is, but the problem belongs to both sides. Now the problem hits those with lower incomes, people who flinch at the loss of the $13 a week in their paycheck. People who were counting on their tax refund only to find out the IRS can't accept any returns until the end of the month...will they actually have the money to pay out the returns?

This month is supposedly focused on raising awareness of trafficking. But while politicians smile at ceremonies, attend dinners and make speeches, they failed to renew the Trafficking Victims Protection Act. An act that provides funds for education, prevention, rescue, and treatment for trafficking victims...not just internationally but victims who have been "imported" into the US as well as girls and women (and boys) born and trafficked in the US. Furthermore, Congress failed to renew the Victims Against Women Act. An act that funds prosecution of rapists and men who beat women, that funds medical treatment for women who have been victims of rape and domestic act that helps an estimated 200,000 women a year. Think of that. 200,000 American women will not get the help they need...and the funds needed to put their perpetrators in jail, not there. Because Congress couldn't get the job done.

If that were you...they'd fire you.

Now, here is what you are doing. You are blaming Obama, the Republicans, the Democrats...depends on which side you are are pointing fingers. The problem is, that it isn't one party's fault. It is a combination. I don't know if I'm the only one who had to take a government class in high school, the only one who didn't sleep through it, or the only one who is such a nerd I still remember it. But government is supposed to work as a whole. It's a system of checks and that no one has too much power and everyone has to work together. There is no working together these days. And we, as a people, are allowing it. We are cheering for our favorite team without holding them responsible. We are denouncing the evil Republicans, the sadistic Democrats...posting jokes about the President being assassinated...but we are not holding government responsible for doing their jobs.

Studies show that the majority of Americans no longer have any trust or belief in the government's ability to govern responsibly or effectively. We no longer believe they will solve the issues. And somehow, we feel powerless.

So, here is a simple Georgia girl's take on it.
It's time to hold them responsible. It's time to let them know the expectations. And it is time to let go of the idea that our team must win. That only works in sports. And even in sports there is supposed to be this thing called sportsmanship.

Confession...I didn't want to vote this year. Until someone gave me the "civic duty, think of the women who can't vote" talk. So I did a little research. Did you know there's a Green Party? I didn't either. Until I read up on it. So I voted for her. I knew she wouldn't win...not a chance. But it was my turn to tell the system that I was fed up with BOTH the Democrats and Republicans. I used my voice and actions to make a statement.

It's time to make a statement. It is time to give up some entitlement. To use that concept of "compromise" we learned starting in Kindergarten and "teamwork" learned in Little League. As Americans we need to become involved. And don't just listen to CNN or MSNBC but look at both sides. Media is terrifically biased these days and not always responsible. Do some research. It is our civic duty. It's our duty to our children, to ourselves, to our country.

Use your voice. Take some action.

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