Recent events call for more than a standard “get out there and do something” statement. This is more of a “get out there and do something or else the people that are out there now are going to screw you over” message. Don’t view politics as a corrupt and selfish game dominated by wealthy, right-wing special interests that you can’t influence.
Instead, look at politics as your opportunity to change the way choices are made. We are living in a very scary time. Our nation’s leadership has become so dangerous that even fellow Republicans and former supporters of the Bush administration are turning their backs on the White House.
Let me remind you of just a few of the recent incredible failures of the Bush administration. It abandoned the Social Security debate, poorly responded to Hurricane Katrina, created a laughable ‘No Child Left Behind’ education plan, have no responsible energy policy and support oil companies’ profiteering. The indictment of Vice President Dick Cheney’s Chief of Staff I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby should be further cause for concern.
Additionally, scare tactics, such as raising and lowering the color-coded Department of Homeland Security alert system and issuing broad threat statements, grew out of fashion after it became apparent that they were often declared without accurate evidence. And of course, thousands of soldiers have sacrificed their lives in a war started over manipulated intelligence and with almost no international support. It doesn’t get much more serious than that. Any one of those issues alone should be enough to raise serious concern about the loyalty of Bush, Cheney, Rove, cabinet members and attorneys general to the American people.
I argue that the period we are in is vastly different from anything this country has seen before and is so bad that it will inspire young generations to stay informed and play an active role in politics. My grandfather, one of the most well-informed people I know, fought in World War II, lived through Vietnam and Watergate and says he has never been more concerned for the future of the country than he is right now. That is an opinion I hear more and more.
If there is one good thing that can result from such selfish and appallingly misguided leadership, it is that young people will see the importance of staying informed and of putting good people into elected office. We have seen just how much of an impact politicians can have on the country – they can steer the nation as they see fit. By supporting people who share your ideals and never forgetting what is going wrong now, we will be able to restore our nation’s status as a symbol of freedom, fairness and international leadership.
Bruml can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.