Complacency and Consequences

I wonder why people think it’s cool to say things like “I don’t care,” “politics sucks,” or “they’re all corrupt” when referring to their political beliefs? I understand the reasoning behind those statements, especially today. If you are my age or younger, in your lifetime, you have mainly seen greed, complacency and ignorance from our elected officials. There are exceptions, but they are few. We have also been made keenly aware that our politicians don’t have any true power. It’s the companies and people with money who run the show. Duh. Hell, I’ve known that longer than I’ve known how to drive.

The frustration is completely warranted, but I really don’t get how those same people think that is something to be proud of? This attitude is a byproduct of the systematic deconstruction of our political process, specifically over the last 30 years. The hatred of our political structure is forced upon people. They are made to feel hopeless and they certainly comply in abundance.

If they say they don’t care, why do they complain about it so much? Could it be that they are feeling the effects of the frustration they constantly give voice to? Perhaps a family member passed away because their coverage wasn’t enough? Your spouse lost his/her job and had their unemployment denied, even though they paid into the system for years? Clearly, I could go on with several examples that your average American has had to needlessly endure. 

I suppose my biggest problem is that I care too much. That’s why I run my damn mouth. Like many of you, I’ve seen my family, friends and colleagues suffer through horrible hardships directly as a result of government ineptitude, greed and business ‘trends.’ I just can’t turn a blind eye to it. I can’t say, “screw it,” like so many of you have chosen to do. I’ll be honest: Sometimes I wish I could.

Those feelings always become trumped by my sense of patriotism, a competitive spirit and a genuine care for my fellow human beings. Last time I checked, it wasn’t cool to give up. It’s also not cool to bag on the country that gave you more opportunity than damn near any other could. Also not cool? Falling prey to those who would seek to divide us, regardless of whether that’s by race, creed, color, religion, sexual orientation, class or political affiliation. The people pushing those buttons want you to give up. Doesn’t that burn you? Drives me nuts, actually.

Then again, I realize that everyone does not have the same level of passion for this issue as I do. Therefore, I only make one modest proposal to you. Feel free to complain until you can’t talk anymore. Feel free to choose and support whatever side you agree with. Hell, feel free to scream at the top of your lungs that this is the worst country in the world. Burn a flag, be as negative as anyone in history, whatever. I support your freedom of expression as long as you agree to do one thing: VOTE.

If you don’t do that, you don’t have a right to say anything. In fact, you truly are doing one of the most hurtful things you can to the country you live in. By neglecting your voting rights, you get exactly what you ask for…nothing.

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