But, as we learned, there is little “we the people” can do once “those” guys are in office (“those” defined by whatever your political/ideological perspective). So, what can the voters do about keeping us out of this now more than annual dance
with economic disaster and uncertainty (which is what the business community fears most)?
I’m open to ideas, so feel free to comment. But here’s my beginning list:
1) Vote, it’s the most valued right we have and the one that takes the least effort. So, exercise your vote. But voting isn’t the only thing we owe our country.
2) Engage. Don’t let the “other guy” do the heavy lifting. This is what moderates tend to do, lay back. The time for laying back is over.
3) Give money, if you can. And, if you can’t give a lot, give a buck or five. If I were running a political/grassroots organization I need money, but politics is a game of money and numbers. If I can’t raise the big bucks, I at least want to say that “I raised $50,000 from 200,000 donors.” Not a bad position when the other side has to say things like, “I raised millions of dollars from a couple hundred donors."
4) Understand and engage in redistricting. It only happens once every 10 years, but it happens in your state legislature. You can affect it, but you have to get involved. Maybe form a group and find a, dare I say, lobbyist who understands it or a, dare I say it, lawyer who can engage. You may even find one or the other who will do it pro bono. This is where the districts are drawn and where voters, basically, are chosen. This is why you have districts that stay Democrat or Republican or, now, where many Republicans don’t fear losing the general election, but are scared to death of a “primary challenge from the right” which pushes them further to the right. The way the districts are drawn pretty much determines which party will win.
5) Pay attention. I’ve heard lots of people voice very strong views over the debt limit fight that had no idea what the debt limit is. It does not limit what money the Congress can spend. It pays what we have already obligated ourselves to spend. Not sure we really need one since it would seem that once Congress has voted to pass a budget, implicit in that is we need money to pay for the spending and, if we don’t have it, we need to borrow it. Pressure on the debt ceiling does not lower spending.
Now that we have a little breathing room, let’s figure out how we can avoid this kind of nonsense in the future while still putting pressure on our elected officials to control spending without the cliff rushing up to meet us.