At some level, this disconnection from the political process is not unlike children ignoring their siblings, hoping they will go away and let them play the videogame. But your siblings dramatically affect your life as you grow up, and politicians dramatically affect your life, and your family’s wellbeing, every single day.
I have inquired among friends, both those vocal about politics, and those quiet on the subject, and rarely do I get any meaningful answers as to why they do not contact their congressperson or Senators about what is going on in our country right now. However, yesterday a good friend who is often vocal about politics, but who never contacts their representatives, admitted that he never contacts representatives or writes newspapers because he did not want to be on some list with the FBI or NSA.
This got me to thinking in more detail about the age-old question of the government utilizing fear and paranoia to silence any opposition among the citizenry. Clearly, many Americans now fear their government sufficiently to remain silent.
Thinking back to pre-Kristallnacht Germany and the silence of the many, this is an ominous sign.
I do not know what can be done to rouse the courage of citizens, who rightly fear their government now, to make their voices heard by their representatives.
I do know that widespread fear-induced complacency is a sign of a serious societal malady.
There are reasons for silent Americans to take heart, and to finally speak out. First, there is safety in numbers. There are too many strong voices at play in America now, on the Internet, on the radio with hosts like Randi Rhodes and Thom Hartmann, and with journalists like Keith Olbermann, even on TV. It isn't possible at this point for the fear mongers to put the genie back in the bottle.
Also, the fear mongers are losing control. Their fear tonic is slowly losing its potency as they cry wolf far too often, and then point their fingers at sheep and cry wolf again.
Finally, the fear mongers organizational structure is breaking down. Between the pending court cases, congressional investigations, resignations right and further right, and in-fighting among the fear mongers as to how to maintain control, their ability to play the fear card is diminished further with every passing day.
There are many other reasons why Americans are disconnected from politics and their government, from pure apathy, to ignorance to just being too damn busy. But a significant proportion of silent Americans are afraid of their government, and don’t want to be put on “a list”.
If you have thought that your voice is not important, and that the politicians don't care, and if you have worried that writing Congress will put you on a list that you do not want to be on, but you nonetheless still have hope that America can be turned around, then do the right thing and tell your congressional representatives how you feel. Write them, call them, stop by their office, whatever you feel you can do.
As I have said before, the silent wheel gets the shaft. Don’t be a silent partner to some possible future American Kristallnacht. Become a squeaky wheel and help take your country back from the fear mongers.