- ‘Tis the season of giving — UAB launches holiday blood drive
- How a cybersecurity expert protects his smartphone
- ASC presents Take 6, “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” Dec. 15
- Leeth named UAB School of Medicine assistant dean for strategic planning
- Coping with holiday grief
- New water plan saves big money
- Campus police offer holiday safety tips
- Alys Stephen Center Screens Walking the Camino: Six Ways to Santiago
- Hospital feeds underprivileged new moms
- UAB’s Alys Stephens Center presents Yo-Yo Ma Dec. 6
- Southern Miss tops Blazers, 62-27, in season ending game
- Henry Panion selected for 2014 Alabama African-American History Calendar
- Enjoy Christmas at the Alys Dec. 2, “The Season’s First Jingle”
- Engineering’s Ning wins ASTM International award
- Collat School of Business unveils sign at celebration
Viewpoint: An Incremental Activism
Now that many of our ears have recovered from the rhetorical carnival in early October, I would like to posit that the recent shutdown of the government was caused by the political ignorance, apathy, and alienation of the American People. The Republic can only work when the representatives are forced to be accountable in the plazas of the plebeians and reasonable in the courts of the nobility. It’s not important to compulsively monitor and blithely comment on the infantile proceedings of our government, which is currently fueled by racism, classism, and extremism; rather, we should vow to gauge our own response with regard to their antics. Every news clip should be met with the introspective inquiry, “but what will and can I do?” I’m not advocating that we all espouse to a movement, I’m suggesting that we all move surefootedly, not as one impervious to learning or willfully numb to his or her environment. Here we should yield to the wisdom of the adage that “minor adjustments have major outcomes.” Until we abolish the implicit notion that we are incapable of making a difference or that indifference is the most assuaging or productive route, we will continue to see unrelenting, partisan entropy ensue. Simply put folks, things will not get better until we realize that we are the government.
But maybe therein lies the heart of the matter; we’ve been alienated from the Republic. Granted, the construct of the republic operates under the assumption that either people are irrational, some are too uneducated for their voice to be heard, or the day-to-day democratization of everyday life is too burdensome and cumbersome to be practically implemented. But does that mean we the people should lose sight of the fact that we are the government? No, we may not be a lobbyist or have offices on The Hill, but we have a vote. We have above even that, consumer sovereignty. We have information. We have a social contract. But I guess the real problem is, what court do we plead to when the other side breaches the contract?
First, we must acknowledge that the contract has been breached. The government is supposed to “establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.” How feasible is domestic tranquility when the stability of the federal budget is guided by the whims of emotion? When the object of “legislation by appropriation” was aimed at a government program already deemed essential? When solutions are only in-three-months-let’s-wait-and-see-what-the-polls-say? How feasible is defense when a senator filibusters to obtain a direct answer to the drone question but is sidestepped by a lawyer’s evasion? How feasible is justice when Marissa Alexander has to wait for a highly racially charged and publicized case in her native state of Florida in order for her case to receive a new trial? “Not very” to all of the above.
Second, we must become informed, and stay informed: be open to new information that may conflict with our beliefs or stances. As has been said by many social and cultural critics, “we are uninformed in the information age”. Sure, there are a slew of biased news sources to mislead us from the facts, but it can be argued that failure to consider every source is failure to consider every viewpoint, which in turn, leaves us less likely to find some elusive or intangible “truth” that we desperately seek to make decisions.
Finally, we must engage in incremental activism. We should channel our inner Nemo. The key to mutually beneficial and political change is not a ruckus cacophony of ideas and misplaced angst as we have witnessed with the Tea Party and the Occupy movement, but a concerted, individual effort at consistency. Whether it’s researching or pushing possible candidates to replace the current, making a call to our legislatures, funding a candidate that we feel will best represent our communities, going to community meetings, actually reading bills, or taking time to have discussions with our families where everyone’s opinion is valued and respected: baby steps turn into adult strides.
What is sure to doom us before any partisan gridlock or filibuster that concludes with Dr. Suess is negligence toward ourselves. Because when we abandon the Republic, we abandon ourselves. So I submit to you that the budget debacle was merely a reflection of the majority of the American people. Bluntly, the common man or woman is shutdown, numb to the zest of the principles that governs this nation’s ambitions, deaf to the voice of inner reason, and allergic to the air of compromise. The hope? The same fervor for resistance can be transmuted to resilience. But in increments.