I’ve been thinking a lot about the current failings of our representative government (including the awkward possibility that no one truly represents me at all) and have come to the conclusion I need to be clearer about my expectations. I also need to be less comfortable with the irony of being Blue in a deep Red state and living well below the demographic-voting-trends radar. It’s no longer enough to take perverse pride in voting against my self-interest; it’s time to explain that said vote is made instead in the common interest in and ambition for our country that I once thought we all shared, even if we believed in different ways of expressing them.
This is what I expect from my government(s):
* That I can walk down the street safely;
* That my children and grandchildren -- and everyone else’s children and grandchildren -- can live in peace and safety in their homes and communities;
* That everyone in my family and everyone in every other family will have access to high quality, affordable health care;
* That our children receive quality education in this and every other community, and that this education is our highest priority as a community, city, state, and country to ensure a thriving democracy;
* That as a nation, we adapt to knowledge as we gain it -- about the environment, about the economy, about global markets, about technology -- and address new challenges with both knowledge and wisdom;
* That I will have to pay a fair share;
* That everyone will pay a fair share;
* That civil rights will be universally embraced and enforced;
* That special interests won’t count more than yours or mine or ours as a country;
* That hunger in this rich land will be eradicated;
* A realistic, intentional pursuit of peace;
* More evidence of leadership and less abuse of power; and
* Choices -- not between one demagogue or another, but rather between and among a number of good, well-thought-out ideas developed to advance the welfare of this nation and, to the extent appropriate, the world.
This should not be too much to ask. The message I am getting, however, from my so-called representatives presently engaged in the art of impasse, is that it might very well be. In which case, we all have lost the battle to sustain a successful democracy before any meaningful debate -- about the economy, gun control, immigration, climate change, the cost of medical care, drones, or whatever -- even begins.
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