Government by the Informed

Whether you grew up in the Pioneer Valley, like I did, or arrived more recently your view of the world is likely to be skewed. By and large our fellow citizens are a caring lot who do for others year in and year out. It could be going on a charity walk or run or donations of time or money to the survival center, the homeless and every other good cause in between.

Community is not a swear word, and giving a hand doesn’t cost any one of us an arm or a leg.

When we disagree, it’s about candidates and their stands on policy. As a rule we resist the temptation to demonize those on the other side. Democracy demands elections by informed voters. In this new electronic age, more information is at our fingertips than a dedicated historian could assemble in years of study.

Consequently, when we encounter it, ignorance stands out in sharp relief with no excuses.

Therefore, when hate surfaces on the American landscape, I find it difficult to give stupid statements and action the benefit of any doubt. Today, as I compose these thoughts, all the prognosticators are forecasting a Republican Party about to return to power in the House of Representatives and maybe the Senate. I find either scenario abhorrent.

For both to occur would, in many ways, set aside 2006 and 2008 election victories by the progressives in our great country.

Eight do-nothing years when President Bush blew up the budget surplus in tax giveaways, and then blew up Iraq, which never attacked us, and then created a false government in Afghanistan, a country recently described as a 15th century society with no inclination toward democracy. The U.S., the British Empire and the Soviet Union have all tried and failed to conquer the Afghans. We could and should leave. It’s not a matter of if, but when.

Just like during the Vietnam War era, when patriots protested long and hard before an awakened public caught up with the facts. In the end it didn’t matter that the protesters were often beaten and jailed for speaking truth to power. My country right or wrong is a grand if not grandiose thought, but it seems to deny facts in play.

Despite the progress made since Jan. 20, 2009, we have protesters who claim their taxes are too high, they’re not. That long-awaited government health care is a form of socialism, it’s not. And that President Barack Obama is a foreigner and a Muslim – equally not true!

Notwithstanding, any of the above stupidities, the dumbest thing I’ve heard from what used to be called “man on the street interviews” is that a shockingly large number of men and women, mostly young, but not all, are not planning to vote Tuesday.

As Jon Stewart jokes, painfully, when voters do something that thoughtless, “the terrorists win.” A little more thought and a lot more action is required to fulfill our compact with the country we live in.

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