Placing responsibility where it belongs

Posted: Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Every day I see advertisements or promotions that say, "Obama wants you to ..." or "Obama says ..." when in fact it is Congress or the U.S. Supreme Court that makes such decisions. On a local level, people write that the "governor says ..." when, in fact, it is, again, others such as legislators who say and make those decisions.

It seems that when people are angry, frustrated and upset with what goes on in our government, they prefer to focus on one specific target, some individual and say, "It is all your fault." Folks have to accept the fact that the burden of problems falls on us as citizens and voters. It is our responsibility to discover what our elected representatives actually say and do, and for us to re-elect them or not.

We can't just throw out accusations, blame others, and say that, "I'm too busy to find out the facts, the details or what is really happening." We have to look at ourselves as well as those we elect and ask if we have taken some of our precious time to try and learn what the facts are. Citizenship and the right to vote are responsibilities that we as adults all have to accept. As we face elections in 2010, rather than accuse elected officials or blame them for all of our failures, it might be better to look in the mirror and ask one's self, "Did I fulfill my responsibility to know and understand the issues and candidates before I voted and put my power in their hands?"

A person doesn't have to have a college degree or wealth to simply make a telephone call, or if one has a computer to send an e-mail, or to write a short letter to an elected representative and say, "This is what I want to know," or "This is what I think, please reply." All one has to do is to think carefully, then read and write, decide and vote.

A truly democratic, representative government doesn't start at the top. It starts at the bottom of the process with individual voters understanding, being informed and casting their decision into the building of the pyramid of power in our nation. Pyramids are not built from the top down, they are built from the bottom up.

How about a New Year's resolution for Juneau voters - help raise our voter turnout at elections to 70 or 80 percent!

Wally Olson

Auke Bay

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