Morning Coffee – Get Engaged Edition

Both the State House and Senate are not in session today, presumably to hammer out a budget proposal that they both can live with, but I could be wrong about that. They may just be hanging out playing checkers and dominoes like the old guys that used to hang out at Midtown Billiards during the day.

I think it’s easy for people, myself included, to forget that while there are a dedicated few thousand of us in the state that pay close attention to what’s going on in state and local government, that we make up less than .1% of the voters. The harsh reality is that there are thousands of voters in this state can’t even name their representatives to state government.

I don’t want to dismiss these folks, because I don’t think it’s that they don’t care…I think it’s that they don’t see how the stuff that goes on in Nashville impacts them directly. There’s a missed connection somewhere.

We all get caught in our own self-interest. We all believe that this self-interest is the most important thing in the world, the alternative is a form of self-denial that most people aren’t willing to engage in.

But at the end of the day, we all need to ask ourselves if the thing that we place a great deal of importance on really is all that important, or if we’ve trapped ourselves in our own personal bubble of self-interest.

Asking this question is not a denial of the importance of the issue, but a recognition that others may not see the importance, and that it’s incumbent on us to either make the case for the issues’ importance or re-evaluate our position on the issue.

For all the outrage and frustration with government and elected officials, there’s also a long-term trend of disengagement that harkens back to a time when information was less plentiful, and moved with far less speed.

While this bounty of information may open up avenues previously not available to average folks, it also moves at a dizzying pace. That pace can be discouraging, making you feel like you can’t keep up…making the world seem like it’s hurdling out of control and that it’s not your world, you’re just living in it.

The truth of the matter is that the gears of government grind at about the same pace they always have. We’ve grown so accustomed to not knowing, feeling like we have so little control, that now that we have more access to the information, now that we can exercise some level of control, now that we have the some of the tools to be the “well informed citizenry” that Thomas Jefferson spoke of, we don’t act like we want it.

It may seem easier to disengage, throw your hands up and ultimately, give up your voice but it’s also self-defeating.

Yes this legislative session in Nashville is almost over, though I doubt that this week will be the last week, and yes, we’re on our way to one of the most contentious political seasons in my lifetime, but that’s all the more reason to get engaged and work to become that “well informed citizenry”. Government is not an island that exists separately from us, it impacts our lives every day whether we recognize it or not.

We need to engage and inform ourselves to ensure that our government, on all levels, is representing us. We need to engage so that we understand how the investment our tax dollars represent are being spent, and how that money ultimately benefits us or not. Most importantly, we need to engage because by not engaging we’re denying ourself the life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness that the Declaration of Independence set forth as a foundation of this great nation.

It’s time to engage.

Whew, glad I got that off my chest. Now, on to the coffee…

Goldni has a prediction for the Democrats that voted for HJR 1253. A snark filled prediction.

Memphis City Schools started laying off teacher assistants, all while increasing class sizes and demanding that teachers work two days without pay. Let’s hear it for morale boosters!

Speaking of education, none of the GOP candidates for Governor think expanding Pre-K education is important. Because kids don’t need a solid foundation for learning or anything like that. Nawww.

And finally, super speeders have the right of way, for now at least.

Have a great day out there!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *