In reading this part of a letter sent intoNewsday’s ‘Letters to the Editor’ the writer stated, “I believe I represent the majority of radio listeners. We are the Americans who are moderate Democrats, Republicans, independents, etc. We don't march, protest, phone in. We pay our taxes and complain to each other.” He goes onto say, “We believe in God and America. We work hard, struggle to educate our children, struggle to live on expensive Long Island - but our voices are never heard.” It truly rang a bell with me in reading it.
I first want to state that this letter was written in reaction to this editorial,As Imus returns, talk radio silences dissenters. Obviously one can see the writer is reacting negatively to Imus replacing the discourse that took place between Curtis Sliwa (Founder of the Guardian Angels) who tends to lean towards the right and Ron Kuby (A defense attorney) who tends to lean towards the left.
Newsday wrote in that editorial, "Curtis and Kuby" was unique for having one host from the left and another from the right - a left-wing civil rights lawyer (me) pitted against the right-wing, red-beret and satin-jacket-clad founder of the Guardian Angels, Curtis Sliwa. Both right and left had equal microphone time.” While I have never tuned into their radio show, equal time for both opinions is critical to our political and societal discourse. Any democracy cannot thrive by living in a vacuum where only one side is heard from; we need both sides heard in order to come to some form of consensus.
But, what rang a bell for me in within the letter sent into Newsday is the fact he opines that a majority of Americans do not “protest, phone in” and simply as he stated “pay their taxes and complain to each other” Why is that?
Last night while discussing the show Boston Legal with a friend since he is a fan, I went in search for the following clip titled “Stick it” which sums up beautifully how a majority of Americans do not rise to the occasion as that Newsday letter writer asserted.
Clearly something is broken within our political system when as the writer asserts that a majority of Americans will not rise to the occasion and let their voices be known. Some will say we do so through the ballot box, but when some have called into question how and if the votes are counted, democracy itself is in danger. In response to my “Day of infamy” article a respondent had this to say, “It's possible Our Democracy took a fatal wound that very day.”
My response to him was, “Oh, yes our democracy did take a fatal wound that day. It set a dangerous precedent that this Supreme Court can and will interfere in state elections which presidential elections are. We the people do not directly elect our president, but through these state elections, vote for electors who then represent the candidate. This is one reason why I feel we need to do away with the Electoral College which has outlived its usefulness.”
Clearly something is broken when voter apathy remains high and it is our lack of faith within the system itself that is the cause of this apathy. So, do we do as opined by the letter writer, in which we just stay home and complain to one another? I do believe that many are doing just that. Some if not many are working one, two or three jobs in order to make ends meet where they just do not have time to vote. Perhaps moving Election Day to a weekend day would be best for our democracy in order to save it.
To counter that letter writer’s opinion in which patriotism albeit a false sense of patriotism has been shoved down our throats, I wish to cite this quote by Adlai E. Stevenson, “Patriotism is not a short outburst of emotion, but is the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime.” Is staying home and complaining to one another patriotism or opting out? Could the actions of our elected officials stomped on any feeling we may have had as patriotic Americans? When you clearly see many of them acting against the will of the people, I would say so. Is opting out the causal affect by apathetic Americans and ones that have just given up?
I remember a bitter-cold day, February 15th, 2003 to be specific in which millions of Americans from coast-to-coast came out and told this government it did not approve of any invasion into Iraq and what transpired was this government’s contempt for the will of the people. Yet, many of these same lawmakers who approved of that measure seek the presidency of the United States. With thousands of America’s blood and treasure now lost to us all including one million innocent Iraqis: Will America’s reaction to their voices not being heard is to stay home on Election Day 2008? To these law makers, give us a reason to come out and vote for you. Do not stick your wet finger up in the air to see which way the wind is blowing, but be concise in your message. Be the leaders of yester-year.
Last year we charged the new congress by voting in a Democratic Majority in bringing our troops home, yet here we still are hunkered down in that quagmire which is similar to the Viet Nam War. While we tried to make our voices heard, the letter writer is correct in stating, “Our voices are never heard”
The Democrats have said the reason no real action has taken place is because the Republicans are blocking them: Well to these Republican blockers, you can be replaced next year. In paraphrasing MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann he said, “Go make it happen or find other work.” To those Democrats one only has to have the bravery of former Senator Mike Gravel and filibuster to end this war. It has been done as history proves: So why not do it? What exactly is there to lose when so thousands of America’s blood and treasure have lost their lives? Their patriotism and bravery far surpasses yours any day of the week.
With many choosing to leave both the Republican and Democratic Parties’ this quote by Adlai E. Stevenson rings all too true, “An Independent is someone who wants to take the politics out of politics.” As many of you already know, I am one of those independents since in monitoring the discourse or lack there of in Washington, the politics that does take place leaves one with sickened to the core.
As I look upon the political landscape of those running for president absent is someone who dares to capture my imagination, and makes me believe of all things possible. I have often used this quote from the movie, “The American President” where President Shepherd's aide Lewis Rothschild (played by actor Michael J. Fox) says to the president: "People want leadership. And in the absence of genuine leadership, they will listen to anyone who steps up to the microphone. They want leadership, Mr. President. They're so thirsty for it, they'll crawl through the desert toward a mirage, and when they discover there's no water, they'll drink the sand." I suppose that many like me are seeking that type of leadership in which we can dare to believe again once more. Yet, here we still are, drinking sand.
While some like me have championed the voices coming from Congressman Ron Paul and former Senator Mike Gravel barring a miracle and the true will of the people we will get one of the top-tier candidates coming from both parties. Also when the media focuses primarily on these top-tier candidates another quote from Adlai E. Stevenson comes to mind as it pertains to the media, “An editor is someone who separates the wheat from the chaff and then prints the chaff.” So are Americans only receiving the chaff and not the wheat? You tell me.
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