the simple minded suburbanite

At a Price
February 4, 2010, 4:06 pm
Filed under: culture, suburb | Tags: , , ,

I almost did not pick up the phone when the caller ID displayed “US Government”.  It was about 7 at night and I was busy advancing everyone through what they needed to complete for the day and get all of the kids in bed!  But, as is typical, curiosity got the best of me.

It was an invite to stay on the line and sit in on a telephone town hall with my district’s congressman.  Brilliant concept! I thought.  I don’t agree with nearly anything he says and certainly did not vote for him, but felt I’d like to hear what he had to say after the State of the Union address.  So I sat in.

My area leans pretty heavily to one side.  I don’t lean to that same side, but all the more reason for me to understand the other point of view and all the more reason for me to voice my own beliefs when the appropriate time comes.

I haven’t always voiced my own beliefs in mixed company.  People here assume that every individual believes as they do.  For example, two days after we moved in Pink and Green lady showed up at my door.  Now, this is before I knew she was Pink and Green and she was bubbly and came bearing adorable flashlights that looked like animals for all three kids.  Before I knew it, she was sitting at my kitchen table…thankfully it was there along with chairs…and I sat too despite being up to my chin in boxes and the fact that my then one-year-old was still in his jammies and a heavy, wet diaper.

It wasn’t but a few minutes before she started talking politics and throwing around comments about being on one side of the fence, assuming I felt the same way.  But I let her go and smiled to myself and thought, Wait till she finds out.

Since then, I have put signs for political candidates in my yard, which spurred some, shall we say talk. I’ve volunteered registering voters. I engage in political conversation because I stay informed on a variety of points of view.

I responded in a conversation with a couple of dads at the bus stop (that’s where all of the action is) when they said that TV News Station A was sooo one-sided.  What loathsome creatures the political analysts were.  I took their lead and said, So is TV NEws Station B!  I prefer C.  Though, I watch all three.  They did not respond and kept talking past me.  So, I said it again.  They had to acknowledge me this time and did politely and then turned the subject.

I remember Mya Angelou saying once on the topic of racism, that if you allow it in your presence, then you are guilty as well.  I take that to heart.  I’m not saying whoever disagrees with me politically are racist or even wrong for that matter; I am saying that when someone feels they are comfortable enough or confident enough to express and opinion, then I need to feel comfortable enough and confident enough to express mine.  I don’t have to be a head nodder.

So, I sat in on the telephone town hall and listened.  Some people, I agreed with.  Some, I wanted to grab by the throat.  One woman who talked of the “immigration issue” and how “they” were destroying our neighborhoods.  One woman who I imagined to be bug-eyed, nearly screamed that the government is training civilian police forces with guns and weapons to put us down and destroy us if we dare to disagree.  But the thing that got me the worst was when my congressman said in response to a question about how he plans to work with others of not-like minds and actually get something done. He said the reason he can’t get anything done is because the “leadership” won’t let him.

The “leadership” won’t let him?

Listen, I don’t agree politically with many people I come across in my community, but we get things done.  I don’t allow my sons to say the reason they haven’t finished picking up their room is because their brother wouldn’t let them.  When I was a director, God help the employee who came to me with an excuse that someone kept him/her from accomplishing a project.


Ideas are different than solution, folks.  We all have our ideas.  Both sides of government has their ideas.  But putting ideas together, knowing that you aren’t going to get all of what you want or maybe even alot of what you want, to take action is a solution.  I’m all for shouting from the roof tops what you believe, our free society affords us that right.  But I believe stronger in walking the walk.  Putting forth action, any kind, a small kind, get the ball rolling.  If you just talk , then you’re just talking.

I hold my kids to that standard.  I hold myself to that standard.  I get the value of communication but I believe in action… a fully informed, complex, sometimes risky action is better than none at all.  Even a wrong action is often better than none at all.  The fear of failure often freezes us from acting.  Silly!

So keep talking, congress.  Keep disagreeing.  It is, at some level, healthy.  But where it becomes sick is when talking replaces doing.  When blaming replaces personal responsibility. When “I want it my way” egoism replaces, “Maybe I don’t have all the answers, How could I?”

All this talking.  All this blaming.  It’s at a PRICE, congressman.


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