If our civil responsibility is limited to checking a box next to a name, then democracy has failed. As the presidential election looms, pay attention not just to whom you will vote for, but to the problems at hand: the lag in the economy, the collapse of Social Security and the cost of war.
Turn off from the media-inspired technical suburbia and take on the role so many of us have avoided: that of a concerned and action-oriented individual. Ask not what a politician will do for you, but how they will positively affect your society.
We must work hard to develop a worldly perspective. Though problems now seem masked behind reality TV shows and celebrity melodrama, there is a major need for compassion and concern in the world today.
For instance, which candidate is willing to crack down on pharmaceutical prices, or send overwhelming relief to Darfur, or find a solution to America’s economic regression, marked by the end of cheap oil? Are we so stark in our beliefs, so individualistic as to invite candidates who present themselves as liberal republicans or conservative democrats?
It appears most candidates sit atop the fence, waiting for majority rule to push them one way or the other. This lack of leadership and dedication to ideals is a growing trend in modern politics possibly brought on by a society afraid of real change. In the recent sit-down debate of Democratic candidates, this became quite apparent.
The candidates seemed to support and agree with their own platforms almost as much as they supported and agreed with those of their competition. The race for the presidency becomes such that an individual with strikingly different ideas is immediately stamped out by a majority who like their candidates more “in the middle.”
Would we elect an eccentric, spend-happy Roosevelt over a frugal Hoover today? Not likely. It appears this system provides stale ideas that rarely deliver what they promise.
An active, open mind, one beyond the scope of habitual thinking, could spark action. As the election approaches and the problems become more apparent, it appears we’re all just waiting for a spark.